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Pain In The Neck

When something is a “Pain in the neck” you’re usually describing a bad situation. For some the phrase can be taken literally.  With only seven vertebrate and 26 muscles supporting the weight of a human head, the neck is vulnerable, yet tolerates huge movements.

The pain can come from so many daily tasks, like carrying heavy shopping bags, walking with a laptop in a rucksack, picking up baby each day to cradle and comfort, driving long hours, shoulders hunched from the cold. Sometimes the jaw feels tension and headaches can occur.

How a massage can help

Having a regular massage helps keep your joints supple, this reduces your chances of pulling a muscle. It’s good for improving your posture and flexibility, increases range of motion, lowers blood pressure and heart rate. You will then find your body more at ease and stress is released.

How I would massage you

When you’re suffering from neck pain in particular, the massage will focus first on your shoulders and upper back, using a blend of acupressure (trigger points) and deeper tissue massage. Then applying acupressure again working the arms, chest, legs and back will help to reduce pain in the neck.

You may feel the benefits of a facial massage around the jaw in particular as this could contribute to release neck tension or visa versa. Remember each body part is connected so I don’t work in isolation.

How to help yourself

Grasp the back of your neck with one hand placing the heel of your hand into the space just behind your ear at the base of your skull and your fingers wrapped around the opposite side of your neck. Squeeze, applying pressure with the heel of your hand only (using fingers just for leverage). Work your way down your neck to where it meets your shoulder. Repeat several times. End with some gentle neck stretches, tilting and rotating your head from side to side.

 Shoulder Shrug

Lift the top of your shoulders as close to your ears as you can get. You should feel tension in your shoulders and neck. Hold the lift for three to five seconds, and then drop your shoulders back down.  Using this exercise when you first notice neck muscle tension developing can help prevent it from worsening

Coming to have a session with me doesn’t end after the treatment. I will always try to offer safe aftercare advice and some self help tips to keep that neck tension at bay.

Labour Pregnancy Acupressure Points

Is this you?

Swollen ankles puffed up like oranges, feeling like there are shooting pains running up your back, you cant bend down to put your socks on anymore.   40 weeks and your baby is so comfy and wont budge. (Due dates are, of course, just estimates and it’s common for most mums to go into labour one to two weeks before or after their projected due date).

Using acupressure techniques has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The West is slowly accepting this technique and now some hospitals also have as part of its plan of integrative medicine. One of the best parts of acupressure technique is that it can be self-administered. Here are some of the acupressure points to induce labour techniques and maternity acupressure.

* HOKU  or L14*

 

If you are planning to use acupressure to induce labour then stimulating the Hoku point will help. It is located in the membrane between the index finger and thumb. This point is just above the region where the bone of the index finger is attached to the bone of the thumb. Massage this point with the thumb and index finger of your other hand to stimulate contractions.

Please read this study on its effectiveness.  The Effect of LI4 Acupressure on Labor Pain Intensity and Duration of Labor: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

* BL32 *

This point is just above the crease of the buttocks and can use the thumb to press and massage in circular motions. The way to locate this point is swipe your finger along the spine and stop as soon as they hit the depression in the lower back region just above the buttocks. Stimulation of this point by applying pressure and massaging it will help induce labour.

* SPLEEN 6 *

spleen-6

Place four fingers on the inside of the ankle just above the ankle bone to locate the spleen 6 point. This is where the finger is farther from land ankle. To induce labour, massage this point for a couple of minutes, keeping the pressure. By massaging this point in a circular motion and repeat the movement with the other leg.

* K1 * k1-solar-plexus

The K1 point is used during labour to help relieve some of the anxiety and nausea associated with pregnancy. This acupressure point is located at the base of the foot, just behind the ball of the foot. To be more specific, it’s right in the middle of the sole and you need to put pressure on this point, pushing the big toe. You can massage this point at any stage of pregnancy, helping to alleviate some of the work stress and nausea.

* P6*

p6Pressure point massage will help reduce nausea and vomiting associated with motherhood. To find this point, place three fingers on the wrist crease and feel the area between the tendons with the finger that is furthest from the wrist crease. Massage this point with the tip of the index finger for 1-2 minutes and repeat the action on the other hand.

* BL60 bladder-60

This acupressure point is used to help the baby descend into the pelvis and induce labour naturally during childbirth. The BL60 is located between the Achilles tendon and the lateral malleolus, in simple terms found in depression near the ankle. Grasp the area and apply pressure with your thumb, do this for 1-2 minutes at regular intervals to induce labour.

These are some of the points I press during Reflexology and Massage treatment to support my mums. I will always offer support and guidance after your session so that you can show a willing partner to do these for you at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Massage lift Depression?

I have met many clients over the years, that have sat down before a treatment, filled out a consultation form, and have told me they suffer from depression, but its ok they have been taking anti depressants for X amount of years, and it’s fine. “It’s my neck, shoulders that I have come to have a treatment for”. I would be astonished.

As a therapist, knowing the benefits of massage, I.e releasing muscle tension, inducing relaxation etc, I researched more into massage giving you “the feel good feeling”. Could massage help those feeling low and down?

Taking time for massage is as important for people dealing with depression as it is for people with arthritis, sports injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Cortisol is the body’s response to stress, and massage therapy lowers it by as much as 50%. At the same time, massage has other benefits and can also increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that help stabilize your mood.

I found the following article very interesting in terms of body structure of the client in depression and how massage therapy can help them in the path to recovery.

Treatment with Massage

Now let’s identify some of the physiological and energetic challenges for those who are depressed. This is where massage therapy can accomplish physical changes that normal psychotherapy or medication cannot. With different forms of depression there is a structural collapse in the client. This involves a shortening of the abdominal muscles and a tightening of the diaphragmatic arch which pulls the chest down and forward, limiting its ability to expand during breathing. There is an additional medial rotation of the shoulders and internal rotation of the arms resulting in a kyphosis that further restricts breathing. Without the support of the thoracic region, the head and neck will move forward and down and further into collapse. All this distortion of the upper body will lead to further distortion in the lower body and give the structure an image of being fully collapsed. The degree of structural collapse will depend upon the severity of depression and its duration.

The benefits of massage: Applying massage with the goal of releasing the structural collapse associated with depression will bring the client from a hopeless, helpless collapsed structure to one that is supported and erect. This sense of support will give the client feelings of being stronger and more capable of dealing with the issues of their depression. Key areas to release for structural support are: 1) the abdomen and diaphragmatic arch; 2) the musculature and connective tissue of the front of the chest that cause a sunken chest and medial rotation of the shoulders; 3) the musculature and connective tissue of the anterior shoulder and upper arms that cause an internal rotation of the arms; and 4) the musculature and connective tissue of the anterior neck followed by the posterior neck and top of the shoulders. Follow this by bringing the legs out of hyperextension and more under the body. All of this will result in a significant structural change in a depressed client.

While releasing the structural collapse associated with depression you will also be releasing the breath process which will allow depressed clients to energize their system and have more energy. This additional energy will allow them to take part in their lives and move out of depression.

Source: http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=13933

If you suffer from depression, and feel like you need extra support and would like to try massage. Don’t hesitate to call.

 

 

 

 

 

Stress Free

As a holistic therapist I help to get my clients in the “zone”, helping them to destress and unwind with massage and reflexology.  Once they have left me how do they continue to maintain the relaxation.

Knowing how to relax is vital for ensuring your health and well-being, as well as restoring the passion and joy in your life. Allowing stress to affect you can lead to depression, illness, weight gain and a general sense of malcontent.

Try some of these ways to zone out for 5 minutes:

Give Yourself a DIY Hand Massage for an instant relaxation that calms a pounding heart.

Try a little Acupressure by rubbing your feet over a golf ball.

Deep Breathing take 5 minutes and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.

Eat Real Foods

Poor diets full of processed foods, grains, sugars and chemicals put a tremendous stress on the body. For many people (some experts estimate close to 85%), grains can put a huge stress on the body. for a stress-reducing, adrenal nourishing diet, focus on getting your nutrients from fresh, real foods in as close to their natural source as possible. Drink a lot of water and avoid the caffeine.

FINALLY…….

Natural spa

Menopause – Embrace It!

Our lives can get so busy, and life doesn’t stand still or slow down for the menopausal women. It carries on as normal, whilst we are left to carry a new bag of emotions, sweats, and sometimes tears. We should be allowed to let go and understand the need to let go and allow the change to happen. It’s not an overnight thing, it can happen gradually and because people cannot see the symptoms from the outside, some don’t have empathy towards it.

It typically happens between the age of 45 and 55 years and is an absolutely natural process. Having treated many women whom it affects emotionally, physically and mentally, it is clear that it’s a phase that some women fear and cannot embrace. It can make a women feel insecure effecting life’s balance on so many levels.

There are so many ways to look after ourselves and nurture our body as nature intended. Walk in nature, eat fresh, be mindful of exercising, laugh and cry if you want to.

Acupressure massage and reflexology treatments are also one of the ways  to support a menopausal woman, helping them to tune into their body’s needs, highlighting imbalances and areas, which need attention. It can relieve the symptoms of menopause by balancing the qi flow through the endocrine system. Having a treatment with an empathic therapist and a tranquil environment can provide a safe space in which to relax, be self-focused, and allow you to let go.

Stimulating some acupressure points through massage and reflexology can help balance the fluctuating hormone levels, aiding a woman to have a smoother transition to menopause.

Some of Points that can be worked:

Gall Bladder 20 –  used to relieve the most common symptoms like hot flashes, dizziness, stress and irritability. It is also called the ‘Wind Pool’ point, and it is located on the ridge of the occipital bone, midway between the ear and the spine, between the two joining muscles.

Reflexology regulates hormones and glandular functions of the body, also helping to alleviate and balance both the physical and emotional systems. By working with the hypothalamus and pituitary, reflexology can help to restore balance to the endocrine system. This in turn can alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and anxiety. By calming the central nervous system, sleep disturbances can also be alleviated and anxiety and stress levels reduced. By regulating calcium and phosphorous levels in the thyroid gland, bone loss can prevented. Reflexology also helps the ovaries to regulate their oestrogen secretions and the uterus to maintain its natural health and flexibility.

Liver 3 – one of the most functional acupressure points for menopause that helps in relieving all varieties of menopause symptoms like mood swings, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, headaches and dizziness. This can be found on the foot and reflexologist can manipulate this point each session.

Spleen 6 – an extremely important acupressure point that is called the Three Yin Crossing. This point is positioned three finger widths above the inner ankle bone, along the back of the tibia. It is the crossing point of the kidney, liver and spleen meridians. This point is useful in acupuncture and menopause for promoting the general balance of all issues of female regulation.

 

Research carried out at the UK School of Complementary Health in Exeter indicates a marked decrease in anxiety, depression, insomnia, hot flushes and night sweats among menopausal women who received regular reflexology over a 4-month period. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12269681

The effects of reflexology are cumulative and depending on specific needs and symptoms, a course of treatments is usually recommended. Many people find it beneficial to have 4-6 weekly or fortnightly sessions initially, followed by a more general ‘maintenance’ session every 4-6 weeks.

So if this is your stage of life, call Nafisa for a chat and book in your session today.