Archives for category: deep tissue

Myofascial. You’ve seen it advertised but have you ever really stopped to learn what it is? Odds are good you haven’t, unless you’ve suddenly found yourself in need of this type of service.

Like most therapies or practices that are available but not well known, myofascial release is a specialized practice that can be learned by massage therapists. It is used to treat somatic dysfunction and the accompanying pain and restriction on movement. The primary goal of this type of therapy is to relax the contracted muscles, increase circulation, increase venous and lymphatic drainage and stimulate the stretch reflex of the muscles.

Back to Basics:

If you are confused, don’t be embarrassed. Understanding the nuances of massage therapy and what it can do for the body is a specialized practice that many people spend years studying and perfecting as a technique.

Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that supports and protects most structures (including muscle) in the human body. This tissue can become restricted over time due to a number of factors including: psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity. This can lead to pain, muscle tension and decreased blood flow to the affected areas. The result inflammation can occur and this is where myofascial release is utilized by therapists.

Myofascial is defined as a chronic muscle pain around sensitive areas called “trigger points”. This type of pain can be felt as headaches, jaw or neck pain, lower back/pelvis pain or in the arms and legs. This is not a temporary pain caused by working out or physical exertion – it is a chronic condition that persists over long periods on time.

There are two main types of myofascial release used: active and passive. In active therapy the client provides resistance, while in passive therapy the client remains relaxed. These can both involve direct and indirect techniques.

Direct myofascial release (also known as “deep tissue work”) works on the restricted fascia. This intensive method works on relaxing the contracted muscles utilizing the therapists knuckles, hands and other specialized tools. The therapist will work slowly through the layers of fascia until the deep tissue is reached.

Indirect myofascial release focuses on gentle stretching and allowing the fascia to “unwind”. This allows for the body to heal itself with the assistance of mild therapeutic techniques to assist in the process.

Consult with your doctor to determine what type of treatment will be best for your myofascial condition. Depending on the location and level of discomfort your doctor may recommend physical therapy, medications or certain injections. Do not receive treatment from a therapist without first consulting with your health care provider. Ask questions if you are uncomfortable or unsure about this technique.

Myofascial pain is a difficult condition to bear but can be helped several ways. Talk to your physician today and learn if a myofascial therapy treatment may be your next step towards pain relief.

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Going for a massage can be a rewarding and relaxing experience. A professional massage therapist will work to relieve built up kinks and stress in your muscles and reduce this tension through carefully performed strokes and techniques designed to increase blood flow and stimulate the muscles.

Soreness is a common “after effect” of receiving a massage, especially if it is the first time you have received any type of professional bodywork. A massage therapist is not providing an ordinary back rub but an intense series of strokes designed to relieve tension and restore the muscles to optimal functioning. Deep tissue massage is an especially intense technique that truly “works” the muscles and can lead to some next day soreness.

So what may be causing this?

Although you are lying still, your muscles are still working during a massage. Even the most soothing massage is still designed to stimulate the muscles and increase blood flow to the region. This means that your muscles are going to respond to that stimulation very much the same way they would respond to a work out. While you won’t shed pounds receiving a massage, your muscles will be reacting to the experience.

A massage is also a method of removing built up toxins from the muscles. Your massage therapist should recommend drinking lots of water following your massage to help flush the toxins from your system. It is a good idea to drink water daily anyway since this will help to continue to remove toxins that may build up over time. Your body will be less sore following muscle work of any type if it does not have high levels of toxins being released due to a healthy diet and drinking water regularly.

A massage should be an intense experience but not a painful one. Your therapist is not a mind reader and it is important to communicate your expectations prior to your massage and mention any discomfort during the session. Massage can be adjusted for individual needs and your therapist may recommend a different type of massage therapy depending on your preference and sensitivity to different types of massage and preference.

If you have never had a professional massage, it can be a rewarding experience. A massage therapist will work your muscles to remove toxins and relieve stresses that can be held in the muscles from daily living, working out (or lack thereof) or assist with disabilities caused by injury or illness. Massage is not only pampering, it is beneficial for the overall health and wellness of your body. Remember to help your therapist by communicating your interests from the beginning and know that although you may feel a little sore the following day, your muscles are actually getting healthier and will probably feel fabulous within a day or so.

Call your local spa or massage therapist to book your next appointment and experience the wonderful benefits that massage has to offer.

Here at Bellanina we receive messages every day from women (and men!) looking for ways to look and feel better about themselves. The most common complaint we receive is just looking “tired” and “worn”. It seems that this New Year is the perfect opportunity to invite people to try something new and different, shake up their routine and not accept aging gracefully. After all, your age is just a number and at Bellanina we think people only improve with age.

Start by taking command. Look into the mirror after a shower and before you apply any make up or lotions. Really look at your skin and ask yourself, “What do I want to change?” Are you looking for smoother skin? Do you hate the sight of lines around your eyes or mouth? Or do you just want to feel and looked refreshed?

It is important to take this step because in order to truly take control, you must take action with this first step.

By being honest with yourself and your goals, it will be easier to target the best way to achieve them. Most people can’t afford or do not want to pursue drastic and invasive medical procedures (such as plastic surgery) and at Bellanina, we don’t think you should have to do this at all. With proper skin care and the right products, smoother and younger looking skin is not just a dream. It is a reality we can all have for our own.

Here is a simple checklist of areas to consider:

1) Eyes: Are there fine lines beginning to form around the corners or lids? This could be from squinting or rubbing this area. The tissue around the eyes is especially fragile and can be easily damaged or show premature signs of aging.

2) Mouth: As we get older the expressions we hold our faces in most often will eventually develop into lines around the face. “Laugh” or “frown” lines are especially common once people reach their mid thirties. This can be caused by a reduced elasticity in the skin and lowered collagen production.

3) Neck: As the skin begins to lose elasticity it can begin to “droop” in certain areas, especially the neck and chin.

4) Hands: The most overused and abused area of the body. Your hands are exposed to chemicals, weather, water, bacteria and all sorts of germs that can affect how their appearance. Lines, dryness and flaking are all common culprits of “old” looking hands.

5) Thighs and Stomach: At any age a common skin problem is cellulite. Small “dimpling” of the skin that can lead to a cottage cheese appearance. This can be minimized with corrective skin care products.

6) Uneven Skin Tone/Pigmentation: Brown spots, freckles or even patches of skin that don’t match your overall coloring can be minimized. If you have been living with these common issues but unsure of how to deal with them, take charge this year!

7) Facial/Body Acne: Blemishes can be an irritating and ongoing struggle. Don’t let this problem go on for another day!

We invite everyone to contact us and let us help you achieve your goals this year. Our highly trained staff welcomes questions and will help you design a daily routine that will reduce fine lines, smooth skin and replenish lost moisture. By taking the time to incorporate this into your morning routine you will begin to see the results faster than you can imagine.

So contact us today and let us help you achieve your New Year’s resolution! E-mail us your questions at operations@bellanina.com to receive expert advice on how to achieve your skin care goals in 2011!

Have you ever sat down to study your complexion in the mirror and been less than satisfied with what your looking at? Your complexion is natural color, texture and appearance of your skin. Skin can look radiant, smooth and healthy or it can appear sallow, discolored and sickly depending on your state of health and how well you take care of your body and especially your skin.

The history of how a “good complexion” has been measured dates back to as early as ancient Greece and some of the most affluent philosophers of that age. The complexion was thought to be the result of four fluids that permeated the body. Later this was transformed into theories about balance in the body and temperaments. Health of an individual was determined by complexion but since complexions can vary between different individuals there was no one best complexion to have.

Your individual complexion is the result of biology. Skin color is determined by melanin in the cells and causes variation in tone. The overall health and appearance of your skin is determined by a variety of factors including your heredity and external factors like exposure to sun, chemicals or even the food you eat. Your skin is sensitive to the environment (both inside your body and outside) and taking proper care of your skin is an important step in maintaining a healthy complexion.

Improving your complexion doesn’t have to be a stressful task. Incorporating a simple skin care regimen into your morning or nightly routine can take years of stress and premature aging off your face. Start slow and build a routine that is custom tailored to your skins needs.

Tricks of the Trade:

1) Moisturize Daily – nothing is better for your skin than staying hydrated. Moisturize in the morning after cleansing the skin and at night before going to bed.

2) Exfoliate – Removing the dead skin cells that build up naturally over time can make a big difference in your skins natural ability to look fresh and smooth. Use a gentle exfoliant on your face and body to prevent premature fine lines and wrinkles from developing.

3) Correct now – Don’t wait for problems to become too significant to treat at home. If you notice dry patches, oily regions or uneven coloring use some preventative treatments designed specifically for your skin issue. Leaving a problem to “heal itself” can be more costly and time consuming to fix in the long run.

4) Protect Yourself – use a sun block even in the winter to protect your skin from sun damage.

5) Eat Right! Your body needs nutrients to stay healthy and your skin will reflect a balanced and healthy diet filled with vitamins, protein and minerals. Some natural ingredients (such as Vitamin C) will improve the overall look of your skin and they are frequently used in many skin care products.

Stepping into a day spa is meant to be a relaxing and soothing experience. The last thing you want, as a therapist or a client, is confusion about what to expect from specific services being offered. Although specific techniques can vary slightly, there are several key benefits of receiving a deep tissue massage. This brief overview will help you decide if this service is meant for you.

The “What”

As the name suggests, deep tissue massage therapy focuses on the deepest layers of muscle tissue. Through a series of carefully controlled strokes and applied pressure, the therapist attempts to release chronic tension stored in the body. Although it is a massage, deep massage is an intense and highly focused therapy that may cause slight soreness during or immediately after your treatment. When done correctly, this soreness should disappear within a day or two.

The “Why”

At this point you may wonder what the benefit is to receiving a deep tissue massage and that curiosity is well founded. When most people are searching for a massage they want a soothing experience and the idea of mild discomfort can be off putting. Don’t be quick to look past this valuable service however because the ultimate benefits can far outweigh those temporary effects.
Sore muscles are frequently the result of inflammation and a build up of toxins within the muscle tissue. During your deep tissue massage the therapist will work the muscles to release the toxins and restore normal blood and oxygen flow to those regions of the body. Note: Because of the release of toxins, drinking lots of water after your treatment is very important.

The “When”

Deep tissue massage therapy is recommended for individuals that suffer from chronic pain, are involved in frequent physical activity (such as an athlete) or patients with physical injuries. This technique is better for clients seeking massage that will stimulate and treat chronic conditions as opposed to one time massage sessions for tension relief. This type of therapy is wonderful for those undergoing physical therapy and seeking additional or holistic pain relief.

The “Who”

Deep tissue massage should not be used on clients who have had recently performed surgery. Clients with cardiovascular disease or heart conditions should avoid this type of treatment as well as pregnant women or recent patients from chemo or radiation therapies. The intensive nature and release of toxins can cause serious ramifications with these conditions and should never be undergone without the specific consent of a physician.

The “Where”

Deep tissue massage therapy is available in day spas and clinics across the country. Don’t be afraid to ask the credentials of your massage therapist. Remember that massage and bodywork is designed to ease muscle relief and can be a very personal experience – trust in your therapist is key to establishing a good and mutually beneficial relationship. Do not trust your body and heath to someone that has not received the proper training or you don’t feel comfortable with.

Conclusion

Learning more about massage therapy and the benefits available to you is a wonderful way to seek out new treatments for your existing and ongoing conditions. Remember that deep tissue massage therapy is designed to be a healing experience for the body and can cause mild discomfort as your therapist reaches the deepest levels of muscle tension to release built up toxins. Learn about your therapist and ask questions about what benefits you can expect from this wonderful treatment!