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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Reflexology and PMS

 

Starting to feel a little bit emotional, angry, snapping at the slightest thing…. Are you starting to feel like your coming out in spots, need to eat chocolate NOW! Maybe a little tired, a bit more than usual…? What’s going on?

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) maybe upon you!

PMS can be caused by a trigger by a change of hormones within a menstrual cycle, it can women sometimes make women well up with emotions, suffer headaches and cramping and just blowing up at slightest thing. Legs and abdomen can feel bloated and backs can sometimes ache. Sometime men think women use PMS as an excuse for a lot of things.

Over the 16 years I have been working as a reflexologist I have seen great results in PMS symptoms with regular reflexology treatments. I have treated women regularly at different points in their monthly cycle, reducing some of the symptoms they have experienced. Reflexology has helped their wellbeing.

I have found that reflexology seems to lessen severe symptoms through relaxation and stimulation of endorphins. Lessened the pain associated with cramping before and during menstruation.

reflexology-banner

Reflexology treatments can focus on reflex points that influence the endocrine system, particularly the glands in the reproductive system as they are responsible for hormone production and distribution.

What my clients have told me: “Reflexology has allowed their body to relax and de-stress”. “ My back seems to be aching less”. “My abdominal cramping has eased up”. “My periods are more consistent”.

What I have told them: “ Reflexology has stimulated the body’s own healing system to work more efficiently to help the body return back to its natural state of balance – also to let go of emotions”.

A little self help:

LUMBER SUPPORT: When your lower back feels achy to help soothe the pain: Find the bone that runs from your big toe to the heel, along the instep, rub up and down with a little oil. Do each foot for a couple of minutes.

EASE BLOATING: Massage the top of your ankle. This is the area for your Fallopian tubes, they can tend to get swollen. So find your ankle bone and massage all the way around it as if you were wearing an bracelet around your ankle. Work back and forth for a couple of minutes, then move onto the other foot.

Have you ever considered that reflexology could help to alleviate some of symptoms? Or maybe stop them altogether.

My aim is to bring the body back into a state of balance. If you feel more balanced, surely that’s a good thing.

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness

Woman playing with a butterfly on green grass

Mindfulness is not just for the trendies, or the hippies, it’s for all of us. Mindfulness is becoming the antidote to the busyness in our lives.  I was recently asked, “do I do mindful?” I don’t practice it as a therapy to clients, but it raised the question to myself, do I do it? Yes I do !:)

Mindfulness isn’t just the thing you practice during a 10-minute morning meditation. It can be something mixed in throughout your daily life by simply paying a little more attention to your activities as you are in that moment.

You could start by engaging in your creative play, that could be putting out the washing, gardening or even playing your favourite sport. See what happens to your thoughts, sometimes they flow. You become in the moment with your surrounding and let life just be. Even if it’s just for a short time.

How to be mindful.
Start by the focus on your breathe. Meditation master Thich Nhat Hahn describes the most foundational and most effective mindfulness practice, mindful breathing, in Shambhala Sun:
“So the object of your mindfulness is your breath, and you just focus your attention on it. Breathing in, this is my in-breath. Breathing out, this is my out-breath. When you do that, the mental discourse will stop. You don’t think anymore. You don’t have to make an effort to stop your thinking; you bring your attention to your in-breath and the mental discourse just stops. That is the miracle of the practice. You don’t think of the past anymore. You don’t think of the future. You don’t think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath.”

Get outside.  Go out and spend time in nature, get drunk on fresh air and light. Smell the green grass and the flowers. It’s a powerful recharge and gives the body the rush of endorphins again. Take off your shoes, feel the grass under your feet, laugh with the birds, feel the sun or rain on your cheeks. Lie back and be in your moment.
Feel your thoughts.  Mindfulness isn’t about being happy all the time. It’s about acceptance in the moment. Allowing yourself to feel whatever you feel without trying to resist or control it.  Excessively trying to be happy all the time can be counterproductive. It can lead to an unhealthy attitude towards negative emotions and experiences. Mindful people don’t try to avoid negative emotions or always look on the bright side — rather, accepting both positive and negative emotions and letting different feelings run along side each other.
Mindful eating.  We are hungry, so we eat. Can you always remember the lemon zest or the hint of coriander, running through your healthy salad lunch. Not always, as this time you had to rush to get to meeting. Mindful people make a practice of listening to their bodies — and they consciously nourish themselves with healthy foods, prepared and eaten with care. Sit down to eat, take time to acknowledge the tastes and sensations.

As a holistc therapist, I get my clients in the “zone”. Help to distress and unwind, offer self help tips to get less stressed. But it is easier said than done. It’s also frustrating when you don’t know how. Knowing how to relax is vital for ensuring your health and well-being, as well as restoring the passion and joy in your life.

I hope this mindful chat has brought you closer to being in your moment.