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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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.

Gift vouchers for a loved one?

gift-voucher001

So say ” I appreciate you”, “Your Loved”, “Your Cherished”, “You Are An Amazing Mum”. Here is your ‘YOU TIME!’.

We often don’t stop for a moment to think what we or our loved ones need.  An impulse buy of a bunch of flowers or chocolates to say “thank you” or “I love you”, doesn’t give the same nurturing feeling as a massage or reflexology treatment.

If you are hunting for a Valentine’s Gift or a Mother’s Day Gift, then a massage would be both a thoughtful and beneficial gift – some ‘me’ time & relaxation.

Gift vouchers are available for any of our treatments, so please contact us to buy one – we can deliver by post or email so even very last minute purchases can be made!

Wakey Wakey – Stretch and Shine!

Stretches to energise your morning

Here are 6 stretches you could do as a morning routine to feel strong, flexible and grounded.

Ground your thoughts, take a moment focus on your breath.

Keep warm when you do your stretches, so great after a morning workout or after a hot shower. But if your just getting out of bed, start the stretches gently. These exercises cover major muscle groups and can be followed any time of day. A great way to start your day.

                                                                                                                     

Upper Back Release

Upper Back Release Targets the upper back and back of shoulders

Standing with feet hip-distance apart, clasp hands and round upper back keeping arms straight and active. Think about the shoulder blades spreading wide across your back. Hold stretch for 2-3 deep breaths.

 Chest stretch

Chest Release  Targets the chest, front of shoulders and biceps. 

Holding a wall or window ledge with left arm, step forward with left leg and turn entire body to the right especially at the hips. Hold stretch for 4-6 deep breaths increasing stretch with the pivot at the hips.  Repeat on the other side.

Side Stretch

Side Stretch  Targets the IT band (outer thigh), obliques and shoulders. 

Standing with right hand on bed or wall, cross left leg in front of right leg, feet pointing forward.  Shift into the left hip and reach left arm up and over head, creating a long line from the left ankle to the left fingertips.  Hold and take 2-3 deep inhales and exhales.  Repeat on right.

Sitting Spine Twist

Seated Spinal Twist  Targets the spine, neck and shoulders.

Sitting on a chair or edge of bed with legs together, lengthen spine rotate from the waist, placing one hand behind you and the other hand on your outer thigh for support. For a deeper stretch for the neck, turn your gaze to look over your shoulder as well.  Hold 2-3 deep breaths.  Repeat other side.

Standing Hamstring Hinge

Standing Hamstring Stretch  Targets hamstrings.

Supporting yourself for balance as needed, bring right leg up onto a step or bench, increasing height as flexibility increases.  Keep legs hips distance and parallel and keep back leg straight (if possible) and front foot flexed.  If you need to increase stretch, hinge at the hips (not the waist or back), keeping the spine completely straight.  Don’t round the spine.  Take 4-6 deep breaths. Repeat other side.

Standing Quad Release

Standing Quad Stretch  Targets quadriceps.

Holding a chair, wall or bed for support, stand with feet hip-distance apart. Soften left knee and reach for your right foot or ankle, bending the right knee to point straight down to the floor.
Keep pelvis neutral and spine tall with the crown of your  head reaching to the ceiling.

Doing these everyday will help to keep you supple and flexible. TRY IT!

Self Massage Acupressure Tip

Do you get headaches?

New Year has began we have started rushing around again, clients have been coming to me with headaches and need of a destress.  This is a great way to help yourself!

The theory is that the body has special “acupoints”, or acupressure points, that can be found along invisible “energy channels” of the human body. These are the same points that are targeted for acupuncture and part of the same overall system or theory. These channels are believed to be the passage of the body’s vital energy or the life force called Qi.

12 channels connect the different organs of the body. These points start at the fingertips, travel to the brain, and then disseminate to various channels that reach a specific body organ.  Stimulating the body and relax the muscles. When acupressure is regularly practiced, this self-massage technique is believed to improve health and minimize recurrence of illnesses.

The most common, and probably the easiest point to target for acupressure, is point between the thumb and index finger, Known as the ‘Hook Spot’. This is called the hook spot in Chinese medicine. It is widely reported to be the most effective target point for relieving headache and numerous people agree that self-massage of this pressure point brings relief.

Generally, what you do is press the points firmly, while doing a rotary movement or an up-and-down movement for 30 seconds up to several minutes at a time. There is no limit to how many times you want to do it in a day. Just be sure that while doing it, you are in a comfortable position – relaxed and eyes closed while breathing deeply.

This is a self-massage technique, but other people can still provide the massage for you, too.

 

Take a moment out of your day

12191727_10153262572757749_962141147891682851_nTake a moment out of your day.  We make time to put on the kettle, brush our teeth, put on our clothes, go to work, make the dinner….. take another moment for you.

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