What Is Neurokinetic Therapy?

By Dr. Emily Kiberd

We ask you to breathe out and meet the resistance as we gently push on your leg. For the first half second, the muscles your body remembers how to use meet our light touch. It may seem weird at first but we only ask your body to respond in ways it knows how. As you lay there with your heels pressing down on the table, we check just one of your deep core muscles, yet you may feel all the muscles in your neck begin to fire. This tells us your neck muscles are overworking because your core isn’t firing as efficiently as it should. This may be due to hunching at your desk all day, jutting your chin, and using your accessory neck muscles to breathe instead of your diaphragm. Whatever the reason, we’re not trying to find weaknesses to make you feel down about yourself, but rather to find compensations, retrain them, and get your body firing in all the right places. These compensations can lay dormant for years and raise their ugly head as they transform into chronic pain brought on by an injury, trauma, or overuse. The body moves in patterns and we use these muscle tests to tell us where to look for the root cause of pain.

What is Neurokinetic Therapy?

Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT), is an advanced therapeutic system that can help your body heal by teaching it to unlearn movements and muscle functions it’s become attached to. Created by massage therapist David Weinstock, this muscle test uses touch and pressure to retrain movement patterns and muscle memory stored in the brain.

What it’s not: Magic. Although sometimes it feels that way since it works amazingly well.

What it is: A system of precise muscle tests to help us identify where in a movement pattern the root cause of pain is located. It can reveal faulty muscle and movement memories your brain has stored away in the Motor Control Center (MCC) of your cerebellum. The MCC coordinates all the movement patterns in your body. And just like we humans, it learns through failure.

In plain English: NKT can reprogram your brain. And more often than not, when other treatments have failed and your pain is “mysterious,” NKT is the missing link. Not convinced?

How does it work?

NKT Neurokinetic Therapy is based on the following premise: when an injury occurs, certain muscles shut down or weaken, forcing other muscles to overwork and overcompensate, causing pain and tightness.

A practitioner will apply light pressure and ask you to resist, in order to evaluate the strength or weakness of each muscle, see where an injury comes from, and retrain your body to get rid of out-dated patterns. When a muscle is weak, the MCC understands this as failure and opens up to new learning. The question is: will what it learns heal you or cause you more pain? Think about it: after an injury, your MCC chooses the path of least resistance (your most successful repeat attempts at optimal movement). The most effective learning-by-repetition happens when you fail. Like a baby trying to learn how to walk but falling down over and over, so the MCC learns and adapts to your compensation pattern and holds it in its memory forever and ever—unless it can be convinced to change. Design flaw? Maybe.

The great news is this: old dogs can learn new tricks. This “failure” is the perfect opportunity for the NKT protocol to reprogram you at the neural level. Correcting these dysfunctional patterns is fundamental to successful healing.

Neurokinetic Therapy is used as both an assessment and rehab technique for:

Jen Cathey, Longevity Wellness’ certified Neurokinetic Therapist, is now accepting clients. Book a session with her today!

Jen Cathey, Longevity Wellness’ certified Neurokinetic Therapist, is now accepting clients. Book a session with her today!

• low back pain

• neck pain

• carpal tunnel syndrome

• running injuries

• joint dysfunction

• old scars

• chronic or unresolved pain

• tight muscles

• anyone who exerts a lot of energy regularly (whether you’re a pro-athlete, a yogi, or a dancer)

NKT Neurokinetic Therapy is foundational to our holistic Urban Wellness Clinic philosophy!

Neurokinetic Therapy is all about hands-on muscle testing, which allows us to quickly diagnose the causes of your overcompensations. We test your body’s reactions to different movements, stances, and pressure. We review your present and past injuries, delve deep into your movement patterns, discover the weak points knocking you off-balance, and reveal the real causes of your pain. Expect a set of integrative exercises personalized to your unique needs.

And—because stretching and massaging gets all the glamour while essential strengthening and stabilizing is often neglected, we take it to the next level, fully integrating your treatment with practical functional movements (a deadlift can do wonders, friends)!

We’re one of very few clinics with Level 3 Neurokinetic Therapy practitioners in NYC, so expect the very best.

Tried everything but old injuries still nagging? Get assessed! We’re here to help.

Book Now: 60 Minute $105, 90 Minute $155

Why Facial Skin Detox Is Important

by Krista Peterson, Marketing Outreach Coordinator, Longevity Wellness

jade-roller-how-to-homepage-1280x720.jpg

First of all, what actually is skin detoxification? Well, it can technically encompass a broad scope of things including diet, exercise, and so on, but here, we’re specifically talking about the physical act of using tools and techniques to get the skin looking and feeling as radiant as it can be by ridding the body of toxins, decreasing fluid retention, and improving skin elasticity.

A common technique used in skin detoxification is the use of a jade roller. Jade rollers work to help de-puff and firm the skin, increase circulation, and decrease inflammation. Jade works especially well as it is a gemstone that is able to maintain a cooler temperature when it meets with warmer skin. A recent prevention.com article lines out some of the major ways this skin rejuvenation tool works:

“First, a quick primer on your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. Lymph fluid—a colorless fluid that contains infection-fighting white blood cells—makes its way to tissues all over your body, including your face. From there, a network of lymph vessels (connected to your lymph nodes, which attack toxins like bacteria and damaged cells) transports and drains the fluid into your blood.

“We do know that fluid tends to accumulate in the soft tissue of the face and around the eyes, which can worsen with allergies, rosacea, high blood pressure, and hormonal changes, and it can start to change the texture of the skin on the face if left there for prolonged periods of time,” Dr. Ilyas explains. “Aside from medications, the use of a jade roller to gently work this excess fluid back into the lymphatic system can help control the effects of this swelling.”

We are excited to announce the addition of a new service to our menu! The DETOX session focuses on skin rejuvenation and leaves you feeling and looking radiant. Using a jade roller and advanced techniques, we work to rid the body of harmful toxins, decrease fluid retention, and improve skin elasticity...It’s like a non-surgical facelift!

***FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY*** Book a 60 minute DETOX session and receive a FREE Infrared Sauna Session or Facial Cupping add-on, your choice! 

Pricing: 60 minutes $90.00, 45 minutes $70, $30 minutes $50

The Benefits of Using Essential Oils

by Elise Morgan

essential oils

Essential oils may seem like the unicorn of the medical world. The essential oil industry’s list of

assets is vast, intriguing, and honestly – pretty confusing, leaving many of us asking, “Are these

plant extracts actually effective?” The answer that has repeatedly been proven through science

and research is “yes”.

Although the use of essential oils may sound new to us, they have actually been used for

thousands of years by our ancestors to enhance physical and mental well-being throughout

their daily lives. So how, exactly, can essential oils help you?

Here’s how:

1. Fight off sickness

Some essential oils like cinnamon and eucalyptus are known to help the body stimulate

the growth of white blood cells. This results in a boosted immune system and a healthier

psyche overall.

As an added bonus – if you’re already feeling sick, using a diffuser can increase the

needed humidity in the air to relieve your cough and sinus pressure.

2. Sleep better

Getting a good night’s rest is an essential part to our body’s health and wellness, but

sometimes a good night’s sleep is hard to come by. In fact, the CDC has reported that 1

in 3 Americans are not getting enough sleep at night, leading to researchers and other

professionals to turn to essential oils for support.

At the very basis of their usages, essential oils have relaxing properties that can help

almost any night owl get a good night’s sleep. Chamomile and lavender are the most

well-known for assisting us in our sleep, helping our mind and body start to relax and

wind-down for bed.

3. Safer than candles

If you love candles for the aromas that they give off but are worried about an open

flame in your home, essential oils may be a more suitable option for you.

With an essential oil diffuser, you can continue your aromatherapy practices while you

sleep without having your mind constantly worry about the potentially hazardous

situations that candles bring, such as burns, wax spills, or even having your pet knock it

over.

4. Increase Your Energy

When we don’t wake up feeling refreshed, we often turn to (multiple) cups of coffee to

combat our lethargies. Oftentimes, this may not be the healthiest option for us, as

coffee can sometimes lead to headaches, a rise in blood pressure, and in some cases, an

increased risk of heart attacks.

To completely eliminate these effects from coffee, consider using essential oils that will

increase vitality and reduce fatigue. Some great essential oils for boosting energy are

peppermint, grapefruit and lemongrass.

If you haven’t yet hopped on the essential oil train, it’s not too late – the market size in the US

is valued at $3.36 billion and is only growing, with an expected growth rate of 9% from 2016 to

2024. If you’re looking for a technique that will leave you sleeping better, feeling more

energized, and is all-around safer than traditional methods, essential oils might just be the right

option for you.

The Powers of CBD Oil

by Krista Peterson, Marketing Outreach Coordinator, Longevity Wellness

In case you haven’t already seen our latest posts, Longevity Wellness is going GREEN FOR SPRING! We are dedicating all of April to our beloved CBD OIL!

So, with all of this buzz, what actually is the science of CBD oil and why is it so powerful?

coastal cbd.JPG

Our friends at Coastal CBD broke down some important info for us:

CBD (Cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating compound known as a cannabinoid, found predominantly in the cannabis plant.

All mammals have receptors throughout their brains and bodies that process the cannabinoids we make ourselves, and the ones we consume from plants as well. Consuming CBD helps your endocannabinoid system of receptors restore internal balance to your body and mind, and can potentially provide an amazing number of health benefits including relief of chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and a whole lot more.

As CBD is being discovered by more and more people and its popularity continues to grow, many studies have begun regarding the specifics of its effectiveness. Although research is somewhat limited We are so excited to see the what the results are finding in the next few years! In the meantime, we continue to hear so many positive stories about how CBD has been enhancing lives.

The Agriculture Act of 2018 (aka The 2018 Farm Bill) legalized all cannabis extracts containing less than .3% THC.

When buying your CBD, it’s important to remember to check how reputable the company you’re buying from is. Remember to ALWAYS make sure that it provides lab testing results to ensure you’re getting the amount you’re being sold!

That’s why we love getting our CBD from Coastal CBD--it is the brand Green Roads, who has a scannable code on each label so you can see the lab results of the exact batch you’re buying!

All of our CBD products are 10% off through the entire month of April, so come on in and go green with us!

massage, health and wellness

Calling All Bridge Runners! Benefits of Pre-and Post- Race Massage

by Krista Peterson, Marketing Outreach Coordinator, Longevity Wellness

Who’s excited for this year’s Cooper River Bridge Run?! We’re so happy to see so many runners zooming by our office, surely prepping for the big day!

How are you preparing for the race (aside from running by us, of course!) and what plans do you have for your post-race recovery? Massage therapy, (specifically focused sports massage and recovery massage), as well as stretching (kind of a no-brainer there!), have profound benefits both before and after racing. Check out these important facts below about just how beneficial adding massage to your running routine can be.

Pre-race massage, especially if you’re coming off a hard week of training, helps you to re-energize, relax, and prep your muscles for the ability to run fast and score your best times ever. Usually a lighter massage paired with stretching is best, to relieve stress and muscle tension without any soreness before your upcoming race.

Regarding post-race massage, according to Jason Fitzgerald on strengthrunning.com:

Artwork by local artist D. Scott Stevenson. (Source: CRBR)

Artwork by local artist D. Scott Stevenson. (Source: CRBR)

“The major benefit of [post-run massage] is that it relaxes tense muscles and removes adhesions or minor scar tissue between muscles and fascia, a fancy word for the sheath or casing that surrounds your muscles. Unneeded tension and adhesions can restrict movement and impair your range of motion, potentially leading to abnormal movement patterns that can cause overuse injuries.” Additionally, “massage can reduce pain and the intensity of muscle soreness after a grueling workout or marathon. Some studies indicate that massage can reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and reduce stress hormones like cortisol.” 

With that being said, you’re in luck--all of our therapists here at Longevity Wellness are trained in sports massage (as well as stretch therapy) and have worked on many different types of athletes. So, since we want you all to crush your numbers and feel as great as ever for the race and after, we are offering 10% off massages and stretch sessions two days before and two days after race weekend (April 4th, 5th, 8th, and 9th)!

If you want to enhance your pre- or post-run results even further, make sure to check out our massage add-ons including cupping therapy, stretch therapy, and fire and ice!

*Discounts will be taken upon checkout

Allergy Relief Via Massage Therapy

by Krista Peterson, Marketing Outreach Coordinator, Longevity Wellness

Did you know that massage therapy can be a powerful tool in reducing those miserable allergy symptoms you experience every spring during the dreaded pollen season?

I’m sure lots of you here in Charleston and the Lowcountry area know all too well what I’m talking about. The struggle is real. Like, really real.

“But how is that possible, Longevity Wellness?” You may ask. Well, here’s the scoop. We’ll take you through a few different forms of therapy that can make a total difference in your overall well-being (and life) during this stuffy time of the year when everything is covered in a layer of yellow.

Facial cupping:

Facial cupping uses gentle suction of the skin to open pathways within the tissue and remove harmful toxins from your system (think, all of that icky stuff in your face causing pressure moving right on out). It works to relieve all sorts of conditions including: asthma, congestion, phlegm, sinus issues, excessive coughing and sneezing, and headaches. As an added bonus, it also regenerates cells providing youthful looking skin, minimizing wrinkles and uneven skin structure.

Fun fact: According to WebMD, cupping therapy “dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.”

Body brushing:

To be honest, I didn’t know what body brushing was before I started working for Longevity Wellness. Boy, am I glad I found out. Body brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for keeping your cells healthy and strong. It boosts immunity, assists in detoxing, exfoliates the skin, increases energy, tones the skin, and reduces the appearance of cellulite. We’ll definitely be posting more blogs about it in the future because there is just so much to cover on how body brushing is seriously the best.

P.S. We sell body brushes, too!

Body cupping:

Cupping works to break up tough adhesions by pulling out toxins and scar tissue and bringing blood and lymph to the area that is being focused on. Benefits include increased mobility and range of motion, decreased pain, enhanced circulation, reduced inflammation, and lowered blood pressure. All of these benefits directly contribute to rinsing your body of allergies, moving the toxins out. Remember those big red circles on Michael Phelp’s back during the Olympics? Obviously, cupping is no joke and Olympic athletes know its power.

Elle.com

Elle.com

Personally, I can vouch that cupping is life-changing. My first experience with cupping was with my aunt, who is an amazing physical therapist and swears by it for her patients. I had been living with a crazy pressure point in my shoulder that caused so much exhaustion and pain for years. After an hour of her working on it with cupping, it was gone. After that, maintenance is key. I haven’t had the issue since, thanks to her and my team of therapists here in Mt. Pleasant at Longevity Wellness.

Here’s a picture of me right after I got my first cupping on my shoulder and my life was changed.

Here’s a picture of me right after I got my first cupping on my shoulder and my life was changed.

So, to review, if you are struggling with allergies, adding facial cupping, body brushing, and body cupping to your life can have profound benefits. Make sure to book your appointment with us at Longevity Wellness in Mt. Pleasant to elevate the experience of your usual massage. Plus, don’t forget to add some aromatherapy to your appointment for even MORE of a judo chop to those allergies. Say hello to wellness!

holiday specials, massage, gift certificate, valentine's day

What Is a Couples Massage & What to Expect

BY: Editors | Jul 17, 2018

If you’ve never had a couple’s massage, you’re missing out on one of the most relaxing and intimate spa services available. Let Monica Jaso, a licensed massage therapist and director of spa operations for Swissôtel Chicago's Spa 42, answer your questions about this memorable experience.

What is a couples massage?

The answer is simpler than you think. A couple’s massage is when you and a friend each enjoy a massage side-by-side with two therapists that work at the same time. Depending on the spa, a  couple’s massage may include soothing music, aromatherapy, candle lighting, and other relaxing amenities.

How much does a couples massage cost?

For a 60-minute massage, you can expect to pay anywhere between about $80–$150. For a longer session, you'll end up paying a little more, but you might be happy you did once you're experiencing it.

Can I eat before the massage?

"Eating beforehand is OK, but do it at least an hour before so you're not lying on a full belly," Monica says. "And don't have a massage at 6 o'clock and then make a dinner reservation for 7:30, because then you're rushing to get there and you're not going to enjoy that nice, relaxing massage you just had."

I've heard that if I come early (or stay late), there might be extras?

Many spas include complimentary access to saunas, pools, fitness centers, and other amenities with treatment reservations.

"By all means, make use of that," Monica says. "A lot of people [don't] take advantage of those facilities." If it's a hotel spa, there may even be an onsite restaurant.

If your spa doesn't have those extras, you should still show up a little early. "If you come too close to the appointment time, you might be rushing around, the therapists might be rushing around, and ... you can feel that rushed energy." Monica suggests arriving 15–20 minutes before your appointment time.

Do we each have to get the same treatment?

Nope! As with a solo session, couples massages should still include personalized consultations with the massage therapists.

"Usually people have individual wants and needs for their own bodies," Monica says. "Someone might have shoulder tension; someone else might have just had ankle surgery and want attention on their legs."

And it's not just about focus areas, either. Couples should feel free to ask for different modalities. If one person just wants to relax, Swedish is probably enough for them. If the other person wants a more therapeutic treatment, "then by all means, get the deep tissue, get the sports massage. Don't limit yourself."

Can l include add-ons?

It's very likely the spa will have no problem with this.

Has your partner had an especially stressful time at work lately? Then ask about aromatherapy, as scented essential oils can help calm the mind better than massage alone. Is it a particularly cold day? Add hot stones!

Can I talk during the massage?

Yes...but it's not recommended.

"One time, this married couple came in," Monica begins. "And 20 or 30 minutes into the [couples] massage, they're nice and relaxed, and it's nice and quiet, and all of a sudden you hear her call out, 'Honey? Honey, how are ya feelin'?'

"And you can see his shoulders raise up a little bit, and she's like, 'How ya feelin' over there? Are you relaxed?' And he just chuckled and was like, 'Well, I was until you opened your big mouth!'"

Monica chuckles at the memory of the interaction. Luckily, the husband in her story wasn't bothered much, but not every spouse is as patient. The takeaway: if you're giving your partner a couples massage, you should probably have a chat before your appointment about, well, chatting.

Will there be champagne?

Possibly.

A lot of spas offer champagne with couples massages, but watch your intake before andafter the treatment. "If you do drink afterward, it can hit you a lot faster because your circulatory system is going a lot quicker," Monica says. A little alcohol is OK, but make sure you drink plenty of water, too.

Do I have to bring a significant other?

Not at all.

Sure, couples massages make great romantic gifts for women and men. But Monica says plenty of platonic pairs come through Spa 42's couples room—siblings, friends, mothers and daughters. "There's been more than I would have expected." The most important thing is just choosing someone you can really relax and enjoy the experience with.

Making Massage a New Year's Resolution

By Kathryn Feather

We all know the drill. For some, it's become a tradition. Before the ball is finished descending in Times Square and the confetti has yet to hit the floor, most of us already have made our New Year's resolutions and possibly broken them.

But, let's give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. Every December, as we indulge in various holiday treats, we promise ourselves that once the New Year arrives, we will take better care of our bodies, minds and spirits.

The reasons behind these resolutions vary from person to person, but invariably, they are a reaction to the differing stresses that play such a major part in our daily lives. Job stress, family issues and a host of other outside factors provide the motivation to get in shape and learn to cope. And according to a recent study, many Americans are making massage one of their top New Year's resolutions.

The "New Year, New You" study, a telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults sponsored by Brookstone, found that a majority of Americans said they experienced more stress in 2005 than the previous year (56 percent), and that they are seeking new methods to deal with that increased stress methods such as massage therapy.

Three out of four Americans (75 percent) claim their New Year's resolution is to focus on taking better care of themselves and achieving a more complete work/life balance. The study found that a majority of Americans believe massage is an effective way to relieve stress and a great way to relax as compared to other methods such as drinking a glass of wine or another alcoholic beverage or even exercising.

The study revealed that 76 percent of respondents believe relaxation is very important to health and wellness, with 73 percent of respondents rating massage as either extremely relaxing or very relaxing, compared to 51 percent who said exercise was extremely relaxing and 29 percent who opted for a glass of wine or a cocktail to relax. Sixty-nine percent of respondents agreed that regular massage therapy is an important part of overall physical health and well-being, and 52 percent said they would like to receive a massage product or service as a gift.

With 11 more months in 2006 and the New Year's hype already dying down, are Americans sticking to their resolutions? Many employers are helping to make sure their employees keep to these health and fitness goals by instituting incentives, offering nutritional seminars and discounted or free memberships to local gyms and fitness clubs. And as the study shows, many Americans are embracing the concept of massage therapy as a means of improving their health.

"Massage is no longer viewed as an indulgence, but as a significant component to achieving overall health and wellness and relaxation," said Roger Padgett, a spokesperson for Brookstone. "People are beginning to recognize that massage helps to improve circulation, alleviate tension and contribute to a more comfortable and stress-free lifestyle."

So, when the ball drops in Times Square at the end of 2006, will Americans have something to show for their health and wellness efforts? If the results of the Brookstone study hold true, the answer is a resounding "yes." Will massage become the popular choice for people looking for ways to relax and reduce stress? Massage therapists certainly hope so.

The benefits of massage therapy are well-known, and are enjoyed by millions of Americans each year. If the research from the Brookstone study proves correct, the massage therapy profession can look forward to having an even more successful year, with therapists' appointment books filled by countless new clients, not only in 2006, but well into 2007 and beyond.

6 Benefits Of Infrared Sauna Therapy

By Amy Myers, M.D.

As you might know, sweating is a great way to burn calories and rid your body of unwanted toxins. But how do you sweat when you’re injured, or unable to exercise?

I like to sweat in an infrared sauna. Infrared saunas help your body release a number of toxins, including heavy metals like mercury and lead, and environmental chemicals. The benefits don’t stop there. With infrared sauna technology, you can also lose weight, relax, relieve unwanted pain, increase your circulation, and purify the skin.

6 Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy

1. Detoxification

Sweating is one of the body’s most natural ways to eliminate toxins, making it a crucial part of detoxification. When compared to traditional Swedish saunas, infrared saunas allow you to eliminate about seven times more toxins.

2. Relaxation

Infrared sauna therapy promotes relaxation by helping to balance your body’s level of cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone. The heat generated by the sauna will also help to relax muscles and relieve tension throughout the body, allowing you to relax and de-stress.

3. Pain Relief

If you suffer from muscle aches or joint pain, infrared saunas can relieve this form of inflammation by increasing circulation and relaxing your muscles.

4. Weight Loss

The heat generated by an infrared sauna will cause your core temperature to increase, which can also lead to an increased heart rate — the same increase in heart rate that you experience when exercising. When your body has to work harder to lower your core temperature or keep up with an increased heart rate, your body will burn more calories, resulting in weight loss. An article, titled Effect of Sweating in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that a 30-minute infrared sauna session could burn roughly 600 calories.

5. Improved Circulation

As the heat from infrared saunas increases your core body temperature, your circulation will increase along with it. Consistent infrared sauna sessions, especially in the middle-infrared level, can stimulate blood flow, improve muscle recovery, and decrease pain and inflammation after intense exercise.

6. Skin Purification

Infrared sauna technology can help purify your skin by eliminating toxins from your pores and increasing circulation, resulting in clearer, softer, and healthier-looking skin.

Infrared Levels

Infrared sauna treatments may be available at different levels: near, middle, and far.

These different levels represent the different sizes in infrared wavelengths and refer to the intensity of the treatment. Most people find that:

  • near-infrared levels are best for wound healing and increased immune function

  • middle-infrared levels are ideal for increasing circulation and promoting muscle relaxation

  • far-infrared levels are used primarily for detoxification purposes

My Recommendations

If you’re new to infrared saunas, I would recommend starting out with 4-minute sessions at 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit and slowly working your way up to 15- to 30-minute sessions.

If an infrared sauna is not available, but you have access to a regular sauna, you can still achieve some degree of detoxification with 10- to 20-minute sessions at 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Complete Guide to Spa Gift Cards

Where to Buy Them, What to Get, and Tips You Need to Know

BY ANITRA BROWN

Updated 05/05/18

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Spa gift certificates are an appreciated and easy gift, especially for the last-minute shopper. They work for birthdays, Valentine's Day, anniversaries, Mother's Day, graduations, baby showers, and as a show of appreciation for people you work with. They're good for people who love spas and people who haven't ever tried one.  And as more men get into spas, they work for guys, too.  

Spa gift cards are an easy solution to the "I don't know what to get them" quandary, but there are still a few choices you need to make along the way. Is it the last minute?  Do you have a special spa in mind? Do you want to add a few spa-themed gifts in a bag to make it more personal? How much should you give? (The choices range from $25 to the ultimate spa gift:  a long stay at the Golden Door that costs big bucks. Here's how to deal with a few different scenarios.

It's the Last Minute

One easy solution when you are short of time is to buy a spa gift card online from a company whose card is accepted by lots of different spas. You can have it mailed it in a pretty gift box for a few dollars extra, or if it's really last-minute, print it out (try to use nice paper, please) or email it. Problem solved.  SpaFinder Wellness 365 gift cards are the most widely accepted and a good all-around choice.  If you have a specific spa in mind, search by city, state, or ZIP code and look for the "Accepts Spafinder Wellness 365 Gift Cards" icon near the name of the location.

 That's an important step if you live somewhere without a lot of spas. 

You've Chosen the Spa 

If you know which spa you want your gift card from, you most likely will be able to get one easily. Most spas have their own spa gift card programs, and all you have to do is call to put it into motion. If you want to make the gift a little more personal, you can pick out a wonderful spa product (or two) like a body oil, a robe, or a candle and put it into a gift bag.  Or if it's to a spa where you enjoy going, write down the name of your favorite massage therapist or esthetician on the spa's business card for your recipient.

You're Not Sure How Much to Give

The minimum is as low as $25 on SpaFinder Gift Cards, but that won't get you very far.  Most people give $100 to $150 to make sure the recipient gets at least one substantial spa treatment like a massage or facial. Larger amounts like $300 to $500 will let the recipient get multiple services.  But SpaFinder cards can only be used once, so whatever goes unused has to be issued as a credit from the spa. In that case, get the spa gift cards in smaller denominations, like three to five $100 cards, so the recipient has the maximum flexibility about when and where to use them.

You're a Big Spender

You can give as much as you want for an overnight stay at a destination or resort spa.  If you can't spring for a full stay at Golden Door, Canyon Ranch offers beautiful boxed gift cards of $1,000 or more to be used for a stay.  If you have a special place in mind, it can help you make it happen. 

What Buys What

Prices on spa treatments vary depending on the spa and where you live, but this is typical of day spas:

  • $50 to $75: spa manicure, pedicure, or waxing

  • $100 to $150: massage, facial, or body treatment

  • $125 to $150: Specialty massage like a hot stone massage

  • $200 to  $350: Two or more services at most spas

  • $350 and up: Half- and full-day packages

Resort and wellness spas are more expensive, and luxury urban hotel spas are much more expensive.

Keep in Mind

Besides the basics of costs and where to find spa gift cards, it's good to be aware of these tips:

  • Ask about expiration dates. SpaFinder gift cards don't expire, but some individual spas have a one-year expiration date.

  • Typically tips and tax aren't included in gift cards.

  • Just as with any other gift card, losing it is like losing cash. And if the spa goes out of business, you're out of luck. So encourage the recipient to use it quickly.

  • It's more fun if you go along on the spa day.

Disclaimer: We did edit this article to take out the mention of another Business Name. To view original article, please visit the attached website.

gift certificate, holiday specials, massage, sauna

4 REASONS WHY MASSAGE IS THE BEST HOLIDAY GIFT EVER

A massage gift certificate tucked into a holiday card may seem unassuming, but the effects of this present will be powerful.

People turn to massage for stress relief, pain alleviation and relaxation, and massage is appropriate for just about anyone—from healthy adults to seniors and pregnant women to athletes. Massage therapy is also safe and beneficial for people living with conditions including cancer, fibromyalgia and arthritis.

This is why treating the people on your gift list to massage makes sense this holiday season. Regular massage clients will know what to look forward to, and for someone who has never had a massage, a gift certificate can make his or her first session more accessible.

Here are four reasons why massage should be at the top of your holiday gift list, along with suggestions for massage and bodywork specialties to present to friends, colleagues and family:

1. The Gift of Stress Relief

The holidays can be filled with family, friends, fun, food—and freneticism. Gift-buying, overeating and travel can leave any merrymaker feeling tired and stressed. Massage makes the best holiday gift because it calms the nervous system and provides an oasis of respite from the holiday frenzy.

Three types of massage to gift:

  • Swedish massage: The most well-known type of massage, which utilizes strokes including stroking, kneading, percussion, vibration and friction.

  • Ayurvedic massage: This vigorous massage uses large amounts of warm oil and is one part of the traditional Indian detoxification and rejuvenation program.

  • Stone massage: Heated or cooled stones are placed on the body for energy balancing and a pampering sensation that contributes to the relaxation response.

 

2. The Gift of Pain Removal

From hanging Christmas lights to digging the Hanukkah candles out of the basement, the holidays’ decorating activities can create strain, sprain and pain. Massage makes the best holiday gift because it addresses pain and stiffness by increasing circulation, improving flexibility, and releasing crinkles and tight spots from muscles.

Three types of massage to gift:

  • Acupressure: An Asian therapy that involves pressing points along the body’s meridians with fingers, thumbs or palms of the hand to stimulate chi and bring about balance and health.

  • Sports massage: This session will feature techniques such as myofascial release, which affects connective tissue by applying pressure in the direction of fascial resistance.

  • Reflexology: A system that entails pressing points on the feet, hands or ears that correspond to systems and organs throughout the body.

 

3. The Gift of Raised Spirits

The holidays aren’t jolly all the time; family conflict, feelings of grief and other mood-stressors can arise, even in the midst of a Kwanzaa celebration. Massage makes the best holiday gift because it can boost mood. The release of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin, is increased during massage, as is the release of serotonin and dopamine.

Three types of massage to gift:

  • Craniosacral therapy: This light-touch modality uses gentle, soft-tissue techniques to release restrictions in the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.

  • Reiki: An energetic healing system that utilizes off-the-body hand placements to transmit healing energy from the practitioner to the recipient.

  • Geriatric massage: This session will feature massage techniques modified for safe application to older people, who might arrive at a session with issues related to joint pain or fragile skin.

 

4. The Gift of Ease

Give yourself the gift of a super-simple present purchase. Massage makes the best holiday gift because professional massage therapists offer gift certificates for sale, via in-person sales, a website or a Facebook page. Whether you purchase now or at the last minute, your gift of massage will be the easiest gift you give this holiday season—and the most appreciated.

Three types of massage to gift:

  • Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy: The Ashiatsu practitioner uses body weight and foot compression, while supported by overhead wooden bars, on a client who is lying down.

  • Pregnancy massage: This session will feature massage techniques modified for safe application to pregnant clients.

  • Facelift massage: This session might entail lymphatic-drainage strokes to firm sagging facial and neck skin, ease away facial lines, stimulate blood and oxygen, and release toxins. The treatment can also involve hot towel wraps and oils.

Virtually anyone on your list will appreciate the gift of massage therapy this holiday season.

Written: December 2, 2015

by:

massage, sauna, gift certificate, holiday specials

Give the Gift Of Self Care This Season

MASSAGE IS THE BEST HOLIDAY GIFT! Everyone loves a good massage, and our massage therapists at Longevity Wellness are here to provide an outstanding massage experience to everyone! This holiday season, massage gift certificates are the go to gift. Longevity Wellness makes it easy to purchase the massage gift certificate of your choosing, with the option to chose whatever dollar amount you would like

massage

Making Your Massage Experience Even Better!

by Ryley Kennard

Hey all! It’s Ryley again! I just wanted to fill you in on a few exciting things happening around here. So, if you follow us on Facebook and Instagram, you may know that we recently were featured on News2’s Living Local segment.

Those that live near us, are familiar with News2’s Living Local segment. Ashleigh Messervy and her film crew came in and talked with our owners, Alana and Shelly, and spotlighted each of the services that we offer. Our entire team made it in the video too! Josh demonstrated stretch therapy on Elle, Angela showed off her Ashiatsu skills on Nick, Tarran sat in the sauna, and I got some facial cupping done by Alana! That was actually my first experience with cupping and it was so nice! It was very relaxing for me to take a break from the normal work day and have such a light, delicate service done. The whole experience of creating a video was fun to be apart of and for me to do with such a talented team.

If you want to see that spotlight, you can check it out on our new YouTube channel!

We recently launched a YouTube channel to feature full interviews with our staff, insider tips to making your massage experience EXCELLENT, corrective exercises/stretches to help increase mobility when you’re not near our office getting massaged or stretched, and other wellness related content. Those videos will be highlighted on our Facebook and Instagram pages as well!

Another new thing we’re trying out is posting our #lastminuteopenings on Twitter and Instagram. Sometimes we get last minute cancellations or someone’s schedule isn’t full, so we’ll be posting that days openings just in case you also have something change in your schedule and you’re near the area and available to come in!

And the last new thing we have coming… we’re updating our website! You may have noticed, our colors have changed already but we’re also getting a new layout ready to help make your booking experience easier. It’s near ready but there are a few adjustments that are being made still so if something has moved or is not working, feel free to let me know, but please understand that we are working to make improvements!

The very core of what we provide here at Longevity Wellness is healing. We want everyone to have a greater capacity to live their best lives and because stress is a real thing, and accidents happen, and sometime we go too hard, we want to provide you with tools and resources to solve those problems that keep you from your goals. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter so you don’t miss any of that content coming your way! We’re exciting for new ways to promote your healing and wellness and give moral support in reaching your goals!

Interview with Alana Long, Business Owner, Entrepreneur, & Mom

by Ryley Kennard

So, first of all, let me introduce myself. I'm Ryley Kennard, I'm the receptionist here at Longevity Wellness. I also run the social media pages. I got the chance to sit down with Longevity's owner, Alana Long, a few weeks back and got to know a little bit more about her history and experiences. It was a cool thing for me to do as an employee, to get to know my boss better and really understand what really drives her. It was really impressive to me how much she cares about the work that's she's doing. Wellness really is at the core of what Alana has created here at Longevity Wellness and she has worked really hard to provide tools and resources for others to incorporate a more balanced wellness routine in their life. See the full interview below:

Why did you decide to start your own business?

For a variety of reasons, really. But, when I became a massage therapist I was working for two other people. I did that for a couple years to get experience as a massage therapist and just to understand business and what not. I really felt like my goals and the vision that I had for what I wanted in a massage therapy business wasn’t really--there weren’t any out there. So I started my own business. I started just with myself and grew it into a larger practice. But what I really wanted to do when I did start Longevity, was create a business that was unique in the massage marketplace where it’s a team of therapists that are really, truly working together and they’re very skilled and professional. I wanted to create that environment where people were coming to us and knowing that no matter who they saw, they were getting the best experience possible, they were getting a highly trained staff, and that the staff worked really well together. So, if you saw one person or the next, that you would have an outstanding massage experience. And then another reason was, I just wanted to create flexibility--flexibility for myself. I’m a new mom so I’m able to work my schedule around what I need for childcare. Massage is a flexible industry anyways, but then having your own business is flexible too. So yeah, that’s kind of why I started it all.

How do you balance being a mom and owning a business?

Well, I’m still figuring it out. But, I do--I just take one day at a time. I try not to let things stress me out and if I’m having one bad day, I know that tomorrow it’s going to change and it’s going to be better. And obviously going home at the end of the day, even if it’s a very busy day, going home and seeing my baby’s smiling face definitely just, like, wipes away any negative feelings that I may have had throughout the day. But, I just take it one day at a time and I’ve learned through business and kind of like the way I approach life, is that everything is temporary, good or bad. So like, life is always changing and evolving and what not, too. So if I’m having a bad spell or whatever, I just know that, like, I just need to work hard, keep my head to it, and get through that. And at the same time, if things are really great or whatever, I don’t just sit and coast. I still continue to push on and work hard and do better because I know that also is temporary. So with anything, it’s just all temporary, don’t let things stress you out, and really just enjoy your baby or your kids, and that’s really the most important thing and then everything kind of fills around that.

When you look at prospective clients, who do you recommend comes to Longevity Wellness?

So I definitely would recommend somebody who’s looking for massage therapy to fix their issues. So if you want a skilled massage therapist, you want a professional massage therapist, you want to see somebody on a regular basis, then that’s who we are. I mean, we try to make it a relaxing environment in here and you know make it comfortable, but we’re not a spa. So if you’re looking for the spa experience, that’s not what we do here. We deal with people who have chronic pain or are really looking to fix what they have going on. So if you want somebody that's going to be more able to create a treatment plan for you, create--or like suggest--exercises or stretches, and give you like an entire experience and not just show up for one massage and go on your way then you would come here. Because we definitely address people’s issues and figure out what’s really going on with their body and then go from there.

How do you implement wellness in your daily life?

So I try to--I mean, the reason I got into massage therapy was because I was involved with sports and into wellness and even more so after I went into my massage career and then got my personal training certification, even more so. But I feel that I lead a pretty--I mean, always could have room for improvement--but an active and healthy lifestyle. Like, I’m always on the go. Me and my husband or the baby are always doing something active and I try to involve him in a lot of that kind of stuff. Eating right, I try to involve too. So I’m always doing a variety of things regardless of what it may be to help my wellness. So even if it’s just like a relaxation thing or an athletic thing or whatever I’m always trying to do something that’s like making me at peace.

What advice do you have for business owners?

So I definitely think that when--business is obviously difficult--but I feel that when people don’t succeed in business, it’s because they have quit before they figured out what works for them. And in everything in life too, I feel like you need to figure out the right way to do it. So if something’s not working for you, instead of giving up and saying ‘I can’t do this,’ you just have to figure out how to do things so that it does work for you. Cause I feel like a lot of times people, you know, even maybe for a period of years or just a few weeks or whatever, people quit before they figure it out the right way. So, I just think that if something's not working for you, don’t quit, continue to work and find what is the right path for you. Because if you are truly passionate about it, you will figure it out and you will make it work.
 

A Beginner’s Guide to Craniosacral Therapy – Core Connection

By Sophia Schweitzer

Jenny started medical school at the University of California-Davis this year. She leads a normal life. She’s agile and intelligent. You never would have thought that in fourth grade, when she was 11, her future wasn’t as promising. Severely dyslexic, Jenny was reading at a first grade level. She struggled. Then her mother saw an advertisement for a class in craniosacral therapy. She took her daughter in for treatment.

“What have you done with Jenny?” exclaimed a teacher a week later. “This isn’t the same child.” Jenny’s learning problems had disappeared days after her first and only craniosacral therapy session which lasted all of 30 minutes. Hugh Milne, an osteopath from Britain and director of the Milne Institute in Big Sur, CA and author of The Heart of Listening: A Visionary Approach to Craniosacral Work (North Atlantic), has treated many children like Jenny: “Children often respond immediately,” he says, noting that the change is often permanent. For Jenny, it gave her opportunities she wouldn’t otherwise have had.

While not everyone believes that craniosacral therapy works, proponents say it has alleviated many diverse symptoms: from chronic pain, ear infections, jaw pain, migraines, and joint stiffness to pregnancy problems, depression, autism, anxiety, dyslexia, spinal cord injuries, coordination impairments and anger.

You might think of it as a gentle massage technique, or a cross between chiropractic or osteopathic maneuvers and hands-on healing. Quiet and relaxing, inducing restful sleep, it’s been labeled mysterious. In reality, craniosacral therapy addresses a rhythmic system at the core of our physiology – the pulse of energy that flows between our head and pelvic area. It’s as essential, measurable, and tangible as our breath and heart rate. The craniosacral system follows a rhythm, and the skull bones accommodate its pulse. Just as a cardiologist seeks to improve the cardiovascular system, a craniosacral practitioner evaluates and optimizes the pulse of the craniosacral rhythm. This is a gentle, often deeply intuitive technique. “It’s a form of bodywork consisting of exceedingly light finger and hand pressure upon the cranial bones and the sacrum, and upon the involuntary movements of these bones,” says Dr. Milne.

The History of Craniosacral Therapy

In the early 1900’s, in osteopathic school, William Sutherland came to the conclusion that skull bones are capable of shifting – an unorthodox medical view still not fully accepted today. A visionary and pioneer, sensing the far-reaching spiritual implications of his findings, he developed a treatment method making him the grandfather of cranial osteopathy.

Then John Upledger, D.O., author of Your Inner Physician and You (North Atlantic), made a major leap when he discovered why skull bones move in 1975 (explained below) and started to talk openly about the cranial rhythm. He began working with students who weren’t medical professionals. Ten years later, he founded the Upledger Institute in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The word was out: “It works!” In 1994 the American Craniosacral Therapy Association, also located in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. was created. Last year, the Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America, which has a sister organization in Europe, was set up with headquarters in Canada.

Still a new kid on the block when compared to other medical modalities like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, craniosacral therapy with its many schools and forms is now one of the fastest growing practices in alternative medicine. Hundreds of massage therapists are being trained, while many psychotherapists, acupuncturists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, dentists and medical doctors are adding it to their list of tools. Increasingly used as a preventive health measure, this practice seems to be blurring the boundaries between the health professions because it’s easy to learn and safe.

How does Craniosacral Therapy work?

On a surface level, the practitioner works with the bones of the skull and the pelvis. This affects, in turn, the deeper layers of membranes and cerebrospinal fluids in the spinal canal, the brain, and the spinal cord itself. Why is this important?

A pulse through the fluids proceeds through the entire craniosacral system, like a tidal wave, from the sutures in the skull to the spinal cord. Cycling about six to ten times a minute, it causes tiny movements measuring no more than one-or two-sixteenths of an inch. “It’s a hydraulic system,” says Dr. Upledger, noting how all the components work together to regulate the pressure of these fluids on the brain. “There has to be an optimal circulation, which depends on constant mobility,” he explains. When the membranes and lubricating liquids lose their freedom to glide freely, we hurt and symptoms start.

It’s easy to imagine how even the slightest impact, lesion or distortion can stretch or strain this delicate system. Any infraction causing nerve endings to alter their perception and signals can negatively affect our entire well-being. Craniosacral therapy helps the body to re-establish an unobstructed wave, which is how symptoms disappear.

There’s also a unique and undeniable spiritual dimension to this practice: “The craniosacral wave isn’t just a physical phenomenon,” says Dr. Milne. “It’s also a field of information and intelligence. In the tiny movements of the system, and in the still points in between, is consciousness.” Dr. Upledger refers to this intelligence as the inner physician, explaining: “The inner wisdom which knows what is wrong, why it’s wrong, and how to correct it. The body tells the therapist what needs to be done.”

Thus, craniosacral work is based on a shamanistic and meditative approach as well as on physiological facts, making it doubly powerful.

What happens during a session?

“There is no need for a client to tell me verbally what’s wrong,” Dr. Upledger says. He prefers to remain open to the body’s own language, although some therapists may want to talk with you first. For the hands-on work to be most effective, you should wear loose, thin clothing. This way, the practitioner can better sense what’s going on in your body. You’ll be asked to lie on your back on a massage table.

By quietly resting the hands on your skull and sacrum, the therapist evaluates your craniosacral rhythms. This in itself can create a shift in energy. Sometimes, the therapist’s hands become aware of places along the column where energy is stuck or heated. She then uses the bones of the sacrum and cranium as “handles” to manipulate the deeper layers of fluid and membranes. No instruments or devices are used.

In sessions lasting 45 – 60 minutes, clients and therapists work closely together. “Ideally,” says Dr. Milne, “the client clears a mental space so something might occur.” The therapist waits and listens. You might feel a quieting down, a sinking in, and a deeper awareness. The whole idea is that the practitioner works with such gentleness and subtleness that the body itself can do the healing and necessary adjustments. “It’s a question of trust,” Dr. Upledger notes. A session can be described as a physically connected meditation, in which hidden information in the craniosacral system reveals itself.

Healing then can occur via the corrective mechanism known as the still point, the spontaneous quiet between waves. Typically, you have one every three to four minutes, and it lasts from five to sixty seconds. It’s a natural pause in the rhythm. Synchronizing and optimizing the waves, still points are like sighs. During sessions, when you’re more sensitive to them, they’re like moments of deep relaxation in which you let go and return to yourself. It’s the moment of insight, when you “get” it.

Does it always work?

While many conventional doctors and even some alternative practitioners are skeptical of this method, there’s lots of proof that it works. Anecdotes abound and just three to five sessions often give astonishing results.

Still, you have to keep in mind that craniosacral therapy is more of a preventive than a cure for serious illnesses. Dr. Upledger states in his book that “craniosacral work is most often a complement to other forms of treatment – not an alternative.” Its effectiveness depends on the cause of a complaint (i.e. whether a problem deals directly with the nervous system), the accessibility of the underlying cause, and what related contributing factors are present. An open, receptive attitude helps. “When client and practitioner have no connection, there sometimes is no efficacy,” Dr. Milne says.

Scientific studies proving the validity of craniosacral work exist, especially in the osteopathic and dental medical journals. So why doesn’t everyone praise it? Provable as it is, it’s also a relatively new concept. Skeptics want to know about the long term effects as well as see more research before they give it any thumbs up. And, the mystery implied in the tactile almost hypnotic treatments stretches conventional thinking, even today.

Finding a Craniosacral Therapist

Many healers are adding “craniosacral therapist” to their lists of titles. They have diverse backgrounds, ranging from dentistry and osteopathy (when done by these licensed physicians, the therapy is often covered by insurance) to massage, shiatsu, rolfing, and acupuncture. Massage therapists, especially, choose to add craniosacral work to their practice.

Lots of these healers attended an accredited school and have been certified. Because there are five to ten different levels of certification, you should double-check their background and specialty. Elaine Christianson, a craniosacral therapist in Kapaau, HI, advises: “Ask your practitioner which level they have studied and how often they do it.”

Remember: A good craniosacral therapist doesn’t force anything. You’re in it together, working with each other. If your symptoms aren’t getting any better, the practitioner should refer you to another specialist.

To find a craniosacral bodyworker, contact any of the teaching institutions listed on page 70 (in the “Home Base” sidebar) and ask for someone in your area. Or call a massage therapist for a referral. Physicians can also hook you up to a trusted practitioner. An offspring of the Upledger Institute, the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners (IAHP) makes available a list of licensed therapists, sorted by state and town. Ronni O’Brien, spokesperson for the IAHP estimates that there are at least 40,000 certified workers in the US.

The bottom line

So should you go for it? Look at it this way. For the most part, you don’t have anything to lose, and you’ll get a healing method that connects the physical, emotional and spiritual. Intuition, insight and the perception of facts are equally important. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Maybe, the mind can’t understand the details – that the body holds the answers if we dare to be still enough to listen to the tide of the cranial wave, our core. That’s what craniosacral therapy aims for.

Amy M. Gray, a certified massage and bodywork therapist at the Complementary Medicine Center in Indianapolis, has no doubt about its profound effects. “In school, I felt the craniosacral rhythm right off, I’ve been hooked ever since,” she says, noting that many of her clients feel 90% better after their first visit. “I always stress how gentle this technique is. How it deals with the whole body. The body is just an amazing creation!”

Your experience of the work will be uniquely yours. “The spectrum exists,” says Christianson. “At minimum, you have a deeply relaxing experience. Most likely, it’ll go beyond that to release holding patterns.”

While craniosacral work is still searching for its due place on the world map of medicine, it’s gaining in popularity fast as a natural, holistic healing approach virtually without risk or side effect. Will we ever be able to measure the mysterious interdependence of mind, body and spirit or understand the mystical nature of who we are? It seems that craniosacral therapy at least gives us a glimpse of a core connection.

Infant massage: Understand this soothing therapy

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Infant massage is a way for you to gently nurture and spend time with your baby. Find out about the possible benefits of infant massage and know how to get started.

What are the benefits of infant massage?

Research suggests that infant massage can have various health benefits. For example, infant massage might:

  • Encourage interaction between you and your baby
  • Help your baby relax and sleep
  • Positively affect infant hormones that control stress
  • Reduce crying

Although further research is needed, some studies also suggest that infant massage involving moderate pressure might promote growth for premature babies.

When should I massage my baby?

Massaging your baby too soon after a feeding might cause your baby to vomit — so wait at least 45 minutes after a feeding. Also pay close attention to your baby's mood. If your baby has a steady gaze and appears calm and content, he or she might enjoy a massage. If your baby turns his or her head away from you or becomes stiff in your arms, it might not be the best time for a massage.

Once you start massaging your baby, when and how often you massage your baby is up to you. You might give your newborn a daily massage. Your toddler might enjoy a massage at night as a soothing part of his or her bedtime routine.

How do I massage my baby?

Infant massage involves a little preparation and some basic techniques. To get started:

  • Create a calm atmosphere. If possible, do the massage in a warm, quiet place — indoors or outdoors. Remove your jewelry. Sit comfortably on the floor or a bed or stand in front of the changing table and position your baby on a blanket or towel in front of you. Place your baby on his or her back so that you can maintain eye contact. As you undress your baby, tell him or her it's massage time.
  • Control your touch. When you first start massaging your baby, use a gentle touch. Avoid tickling your baby, however, which might irritate him or her. As your baby grows, use a firmer touch.
  • Slowly stroke and knead each part of your baby's body.You might start by placing your baby on his or her stomach and spending one minute each rubbing different areas, including your baby's head, neck, shoulders, upper back, waist, thighs, feet and hands. Next, place your baby on his or her back and spend one minute each extending and flexing your baby's arms and legs, and then both legs at the same time. Finally, with your baby either on his or her back or stomach, repeat the rubbing motions for another five minutes.
  • Stay relaxed. Talk to your baby throughout the massage. You might sing or tell a story. Try repeating your baby's name and the word "relax" as you help him or her release tension.
  • Watch how your baby responds. If your baby jiggles his or her arms and seems happy, he or she is likely enjoying the massage and you can continue. If your baby turns his or her head away from you or appears restless or unhappy, stop the massage and try again later.

Should I use oil?

It's up to you. Some parents prefer to use oil during infant massage to prevent friction between their hands and the baby's skin, while others find it too messy. If you choose to use oil, select one that's odorless and edible — just in case your baby gets some in his or her mouth. If your baby has sensitive skin or allergies, test the oil first by applying a small amount to a patch of your baby's skin and watching for a reaction.

Is infant massage OK for babies who have health issues?

If your baby has any underlying health issues, talk to your baby's doctor before trying infant massage. The doctor can help you determine if massage is appropriate. You might also ask your baby's doctor if he or she can recommend an infant massage specialist or other qualified expert who can teach you techniques to address your baby's specific needs.

It might take a few tries before you and your baby get the hang of infant massage. Be patient. With a little practice, infant massage can be a healthy way for you and your baby to relax and bond.

Your First Couple’s Massage

by bardw

A couple’s massage allows partners, spouses, mom’s and daughters, sons and dads, BFFs or anyone else to experience massage together in the same room as one therapist works with each person.  Couple’s massage is a shared bonding experience that can have many benefits beyond just the bodywork session.

What to expect

For many couple’s massage recipients it’s their first trip to see a massage therapist. You may have been invited by a someone who’s experienced at receiving a massage who wanted to share the experience. Or maybe it’s a special occasion?  Or maybe a “surprise” gift? The good news is that qualified and professional therapists are used to massage “newbies” and will ensure you are comfortable, give you all the information you ned to have a great session, and be open to answering any of your questions. Our first priority is maintaining guest comfort and protecting your modesty while making sure that the specific therapeutic needs of each client are met.

 

Typically, you should arrive 10-15 minutes before your session so that you can fill out some simple, but important paperwork.  This paperwork gives specific information to the therapist so they can tune the session to your needs.  The form will ask about any areas of your body that might be sore, tender or in pain, as well as areas you’d rather the therapist avoid. It will also ask about medical conditions relevant to massage therapy, and a few basic questions about your overall wellness.

During this time you can drink some water or use the restroom. You should also silence your cell phone for the duration of your session. If you’re interested in any extras, such as aromatherapy, for one or both of you, let the front desk know.

The main event

Once it’s time for your session to begin, the therapists will come and guide each of you to the therapy room.  They’ll go over the form and ask questions.  This is a GREAT time for YOU to ask questions too!  If your form indicates you’re a first-timer, the therapist will take extra care to make sure you know what to expect. Each therapist will then ready the room, then leave and allow each of you to undress to your comfort level.  Typically, for a full-body massage, this means underwear, but many long-time therapy recipients will completely undress.  There’s NO wrong way to do this, just be comfortable.  Once you’ve undressed, you’ll lay on the massage table under the sheets.  After a few minutes, your therapists will knock on the door, then return to the session room, adjusting your linens and often placing support under your feet or knees.

During the session you will be covered (draped) at all times, unveiling only the parts the therapist is working on, then recovering and moving on.  A skilled therapist is an expert draper and it’ll all seem completely comfortable while it’s happening.

The therapist will work intuitively to relax your muscles, explore trouble spots, and pay special attention to any areas you marked on your intake form.  Sometimes they will use oils, lotions, or creams to help make the bodywork more effective. Typically, these lubricants are hypoallergenic and scent-free, but sometimes they contain wonderful essential oils, like lavender, to enhance the experience.

About half way through the session, the therapist will coach you on how to turn over (still under the covers) and get ready for the next steps in your body work.

While most people are quiet during a session, but you should ALWAYS feel comfortable communicating with your therapist about things like pressure. Your therapist will probably check in once or twice to make sure you are comfortable.

The afterparty

At the end of the session, the therapist will signal you and both therapists will leave the room allowing you to carefully get off the table and redress.  Once dressed, open the door – that’s the universal sign that you’re ready to see the therapist again.  The therapists will talk to you a bit about the session and make any recommendations for further care, then escort you to reception for payment and rebooking.  You may leave a gratuity in the room (20% is common) or put it on the credit card when you check out.

It’s not unusual for you to feel super-relaxed after the session, so plan a bit of time to come out of your fog after you finish.  You can prolong that feeling by drinking lots of water and taking it easy for an hour or two. It’s totally OK to do something very active after massage, too, though, and you’ll likely find your flexibility and range of motion are better than ever as you run, hike, walk or play sports.

At the desk, you’ll have an opportunity to schedule additional sessions, find out about products that might be for sale, pay for your services.

So if you get a chance to participate in a couple’s massage session, don’t stress.  It is a wonderful, shared experience that you won’t forget.

massage

How Can I Find the Right Massage Therapist?

It is important to find a massage therapist with the skills you need.  Below are some easy steps you can take.

1. Identify your goals and health status

The first thing you should do is set goals for the massage session(s).  Are you interested in:

  • Reducing stress?
  • Reducing muscle contractions or tightness?
  • Living without chronic or acute pain?
  • Improving your work performance?
  • Enhancing your general health and wellbeing? 
  • Improving your ability to participate in sports?

Secondly, think about why you want to see a massage therapist:

  • Did a licensed medical professional such as physical therapist, medical doctor, or chiropractor suggest you try massage?
  • Are you managing any conditions your doctor is not aware of but hope that massage might alleviate?
  • Do you know someone who has many of the same aches and pains as you and who has benefited from receiving massage therapy?

Your answers to these questions will help you determine what skills you are looking for in a massage therapist.

2. Get some names

Many people are most comfortable getting a personal referral from a friend. Sometimes your friend can answer questions about the massage therapist and explain how they benefited from visiting this therapist.  

Another great source for referrals is your primary healthcare provider or a medical specialist. They may have a list of massage therapists that have specialized training and experience in techniques that are effective in treating your condition or complaint.

Other sources are professional associations, such as the American Massage Therapy Association  and the Associated Bodywork Massage Professionals . These sites generally check the qualifications of therapists listed.

You can also check out massage schools, local fitness/health clubs, spas, wellness centers, and chiropractic offices. 

Consumer should be cautious about selecting a massage therapist based solely on websites, listings in the yellow pages, local magazines, or newspapers. Most advertising venues do not screen for therapists who are self taught, running business illegally, or providing escort and sexual services. It will be up to you to do some homework.

3. Consider your personal preferences

You may want to include or eliminate potential therapists or styles based on personal preferences. For example:

  • Would you be most comfortable with a male or female therapist? 
  • Is location important? (If you plan to go once or twice a week, you may want to find a therapist close to work or home.)

4. Make a phone call to find out more about the therapist

If you don't already have this information, call and ask about:

  • Style or techniques used
  • Philosophy of care
  • Years in practice 
  • Specialty areas, experience with particular conditions (diabetesheart diseasepregnancy)
  • Training, advanced certification 
  • If the therapist belongs to professional organizations, and if so, which ones

You should look for a massage therapist who has at least 500 hours of training from a reputable, accredited school. (You can find out if a school is accredited by contacting the school directly.) 

If a therapist is nationally certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), he or she has at least 500 hours of training from an accredited school and has passed a written exam. 

Another clue that the therapist is qualified is membership in a professional association that has established a certain level of professional preparation to join. These are the American Massage Therapy Association and the Associated Bodywork Massage Professionals .

If there is any doubt or apprehension on your part, it is always appropriate to clarify the style or techniques that the massage therapist uses and that the service you are booking is a non-sexual massage. 

5. Ask about costs and logistics

Ask about the fee. Specifically, ask:

  • What lengths of sessions are available and what is the fee for each. Typically, therapist will offer you a number of options, generally 30, 45, 60, 75 or 90 minutes. Ask if the rate is for hands-on time or if the intake is included in the time.
  • Are there different fees for different techniques?
  • Might your massage be covered by insurance?
  • Are there any additional fees or taxes?
  • Do they offer any special or discounted package rates?

Also ask about logistics:

  • How far in advance do you generally need to make an appointment?
  • What does the scheduled time mean-when you should arrive or when you should be ready to start the massage?
  • What is the cancellation policy? 
  • Do you need to bring clothes to better experience clinical therapies? For example, should you bring a bathing suit, gym shorts, or work out bra to wear during the massage? Should you bring clothes to change into afterward? 
  • Do they want to see a prescription from physician, exercise plan from physical therapy, or post surgical prescription?
  • What is the therapist's draping policy?
  • Finally, to arrive more relaxed, get clear directions and learn about parking options.

Expert Contributor: Beth Burgan, MA, MFA

Reviewed by: Dale Healey, DC

References

article link: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/massage-therapy/how-can-i-find-right-massage-therapist

What Are The Benefits To A Deep Tissue Massage?

Massage is known for its ability to help the mind and body relax—and that alone makes getting massage advantageous. Deep tissue massage may bring your clients other benefits as well. To help you understand these, it first helps to understand what a deep tissue massage is.

Deep tissue massage is a technique that focuses primarily on the deeper layers of muscles and the fascia. Sometimes this technique involves the therapist using firmer pressure in order to reach these key areas and get them to release, which is why this particular massage is oftentimes recommended for people who are comfortable with a slightly more intense touch. However, deep tissue massage can also refer to gentle yet sustained pressure targeting the myofascial layer. The belief that deep pressure equals pain is a myth; however, the benefits of deep tissue massage are beyond question.

1. Deep tissue massage offers stress relief

When a client feels stressed out due to demands at work, home or both, deep tissue massage can help ease this stress in a healthy manner. This is important, as unresolved stress can do major damage to mental and physical health; an estimated 60 to 80 percent of doctor’s office visits are stress-related, as noted in a 2003 study in the Journal of the National Medical Association.

2. Deep tissue massage eases pain

Deep tissue massage may be able to lessen pain. For example, research published in an April 2014 issue of Manual Therapy found that deep tissue massage to posterior calf muscles, along with self-stretching exercises, helped reduce participants’ pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Deep tissue massage can be used for other conditions as well, such as fibromyalgia, tennis elbow or low-back pain, potentially providing some much-needed relief.

3. Deep tissue massage makes movement easier

Scar tissue forms when an area of the body is injured and heals. Although the most common scars are those that result from a visible cut, sometimes they occur deeper in the body, such as when you damage muscles, ligaments or tendons. It is this type of scarring that deep tissue massage can help resolve, making it easier to move and promoting greater range of motion.

 

4. Deep tissue massage can lower heart rate and blood pressure

A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine involved 263 participants who reported muscle spasm or strain. Each individual’s blood pressure and heart rate was assessed prior to a 45 to 60-minute deep tissue massage, as well as after. The result was lower systolic and diastolic pressure, as well as heart rates around 10 beats less per minute.

-Massage Magazine 

Why you should add CBD to your next Massage!!

Cannabis: the plant that keeps on giving. Its uses are incredible and can be traced back thousands of years. There are various species of cannabis, and cannabidiol (CBD), is one that has been gaining a ton of popularity.

People are still often cautious of using CBD oils as they sometimes confuse CBD with THC, but there are actually stark differences between the two. While THC is known to get people high or alter their state of mind, CBD does neither. It is not psychoactive and also has more medical use than THC.

"CBD stands out because it is both nonintoxicating and displays a broad range of medicinal applications, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-anxiety, and analgesic (pain relief) properties," Dr. Blake Pearson, founder of Greenly Medical Consulting and practicing medical doctor in Ontario, Canada, specializing in cannabinoid medicine, told POPSUGAR. However, certain levels of THC (don't worry — they're not strong enough to show up in a drug test since they're used topically) can be present when using CBD products as it can make the beneficial properties of it even more potent.

Benefits of CBD Oils

People with arthritis, broken bones, sports injuries, overworked muscles from working out, neurological disorders, and those who want to relax or relieve anxiety can benefit from CBD oil treatments. According to Dr. Pearson, there's also a growing body of evidence supporting claims that CBD has been shown to improve symptoms related to "inflammation, including inflammatory bowel disease (for example Crohn's and colitis), rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and sports and occupational injuries causing chronic pain, like tendinitis," mood disorders, and more. He's seen patients in his clinic find great improvements in their pain after starting cannabinoid therapy.

Because of its many benefits, CBD has been taking the healthcare and beauty industries by storm in recent years. In fact, CBD is being used in special treatments at several spas across the country — and for good reason. While CBD in spa treatments is not as closely monitored as treatments by a licensed physician over a period of time, it can be marginally beneficial during such things as massages. The incorporation of CBD into spa treatments has been shown to reduce inflammation, relieve and ease pain, and destress, according to Anna Pamula, owner of Renu Day Spa, who was the first to introduce CBD treatments in Illinois over four years ago. Her salon in Illinois offers an ever-changing menu based on careful research of cannabis-infused massage therapy and other treatments with cannabis oils and products. She is very careful about sourcing the best, organic products without chemicals for her clients as they are the most beneficial.

The use of CBD oils in spas can be "great for musculoskeletal and joint pain relief," Dr. Mark Rosenbloom, MD, MBA, told POPSUGAR, "because it would really get into the tissues." He usually recommends CBD for localized pain and has seen very positive results from it. Dr. Rosenbloom has also seen a decrease in nausea, inflammation, and oxidative stress in patients when using CBD.

How CBDs Are Used

"What we are doing when using CBD is using the body's own system and just augmenting it a bit," Dr. Rosenbloom said. Our bodies naturally produce endogenous cannabinoids, which are the same structure of plant cannabinoids. We have two receptors for cannabinoids, but CBD doesn't act on them directly. Rather, it seems to encourage the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.

The plant cannabinoids last longer in the body because our bodies aren't used to breaking them down. "Over 1,000 genes in our body are affected by CBD. They are essential to human life. The body would not function well without endogenous cannabinoids," Dr. Rosenbloom added.

In spas, CBD is used as tinctures, massage oils, and is infused in lotions and creams. The products will not get you high but are applied to the skin during a massage and can reduce pain, inflammation, and much more.

Side Effects and Possible Dangers of CBDs in Spas

A study conducted by the World Health Organization stated that there is no evidence correlating any public-health-related problems with the use of pure CBD. Dr. Pearson added that CBD "is generally well-tolerated and has a good safety profile," and the study stated that "CBD does not induce physical dependence and is not associated with potential abuse." However, because it is an entirely nonbenign substance and there could be a chance of developing contact dermatitis or an allergic reaction since it's applied topically, Dr. Pearson recommends consulting with your physician first. He also recommends those interested in seeking the benefits of CBD to work closely with a medical practitioner to understand their own underlying conditions and develop a bespoke treatment plan with a personalized dosing regimen.

It's also very important to do your research before pursuing any treatments involving CBD at spas. Try to find spas that obtain their CBD from organic sources with minimal ingredients. The products the spas use are of utmost importance, so you want to make sure you're going to a place that really cares about the ingredients it's putting in and on your body because "what can harm you is if the CBDs are mixed with oils that aren't good quality or have a lot of chemicals," Pamula stated.

                                                                                                                                  By: ROSY PAHWA