Archives for category: massage therapy techniques

Have you ever woken up in the morning, looked in the mirror and wondered what happened to your face during the night? It’s not just the lines on your face from a wrinkled pillowcase you notice but wrinkles on your cheeks and around your eyes and a puffiness that leaves you looking worse for wear despite a restful night.

Look at the culprit before you blame your age. Even youthful skin can fall victim to this common habit: poor sleep positions. Think about it in practical terms: if you are asleep an average of seven to eight hours a night (we can hope, right?), your skin is reacting to whatever position you assume during the night. Cramming your cheek into the pillow may feel most comfortable but stay like that for eight hours straight and it’s no wonder you wake up in the morning with wrinkles starting to form but on just one side.

Think there is no proof to back that up? Think again.

Side Sleepers

When we sleep on our side many things happen. Most important is a restriction of blood. Your skin thrives on blood and oxygen being distributed evenly thoughout the cells. Remember that your skin needs blood and oxygen to go through its normal process of developing new skin cells and exfoliating the old cells. Sleep is a great time for this process to occur because your skin is not being affected by external influences such as environment or being touched, scratched or wrinkled through normal everyday movements. When we sleep our skin and muscles relax, allowing them to rejuvenate the next day. When you nod off on your side you are placing pressure on one area of the skin and preventing this process from occurring.

Stomach Floppers

Some people can only sleep on their stomachs. There is absolutely no other way they can get comfortable and this is truly one of the worst ways to spend the night. Not only from a cardiovascular standpoint as sleeping on the stomach causes stress on the heart and chest but because it also restricts normal respiration. This impacts all areas of the body (not just the skin) and can have detrimental effects on your body and organs. If you want to think about what it is doing to your face it can cause puffiness, redness and because of the restricted blood flow, result in wrinkles and fine lines forming as early as your twenties. You will wake up looking like you just pulled a week worth of all night study sessions.

Back Drifters

This is truly the best position to sleep because it removes stress from the face and doesn’t place any undo stress on the skin. While a slightly tilted position isn’t the worst thing ever, the flatter you stay the better off you will look in the morning and in the long run. This will allow your skin to receive optimal oxygen and blood flow while releasing the normal tension the will create “blocked energy” on the face and release repetitive facial holding patterns many of us have during the day (such as furrowing the brows or frowning). It is these common behaviors that lead to prematurely aging skin and a disturbing image waiting for you in the mirror in the morning.

Simple Tricks

Many of us have one sleep position that is the most comfortable and no amount of research will change the fact that when we want to go to bed at night, it’s one way or no way. There are ways you can help “retrain” yourself to sleep on your back and start on the road to better skin.

Use pillows to hold your body in place. The body turns several times during the night so even if you end up falling asleep on your back you may very well wake up on your stomach. Try strategically placing a few pillows on your sides, around your legs or even your neck (beware any suffocation hazard if you are a heavy sleeper or take any medications that induce drowsiness) to prevent moving during the night.

If you absolutely cannot sleep on your back and need to sleep on your side, try switching to the softest fabric available for your pillow and sheets. Course fabrics will be more prone to damaging the skin and holding it in place. Smooth fabrics will free movement provide less stress on the skin.

Give your skin a running start by maintaining good hydration during the night. Dry skin is a common root of wrinkles so properly moisturizing before turning in for the night is a good way to prevent future damage. Try a light weight, oil-free moisturizer such as the Calendula Oil-Free Moisturizer to prevent the build up of uneccesary oils in the pores.

Remember that “beauty sleep” can be just that. Sleep is your body repairing and restoring itself for the day to come. Your skin needs to relax just as much as your tired feet or back so don’t overlook how you sleeping. Try to maximize your sleep so you wake up feeling and looking as refreshed as you want to be.

As an esthetician or skin care professional, you may have heard some controversy over the matter of performing extractions during a routine facial service. What may seem like a relatively simple procedure can actually raise great controversy in the world of esthetics. Some estheticians regard extractions as a matter of providing a complete service while others see this as inflicting trauma to the skin. Learning more about both sides of the issue can help you as a professional in making an informed decision and explaining the issue to your clients.

What is an extraction?

As a basic review, an extraction is removing impurity (plug of dead skin or oil) from a pore or pimple. It is the removal of both blackheads and whiteheads from the skin. Extractions occur after the skin has been thoroughly cleansed, exfoliated and sometimes steamed to soften the area prior to extraction.

Why Do It?

Extractions are considered a “must” by many estheticians when performing a routine facial because they want to leave their clients skin looking and feeling it’s best. When done correctly, a simple extraction should be quick and relatively painless. As a trained esthetician it is important to know if your client has sensitive skin which would make them more prone to the damage that can be caused by extractions.

Why Not?

Extractions should only be performed by a trained esthetician and should not be done in excess. Extractions can cause broken capillaries or sin irritations that can lead to more (not less) breakouts. Extractions can also cause discomfort for your client when done incorrectly so you should seek their permission before performing any type of extraction during their facial. Remember your client has the right to know any product or procedure being performed on their skin and make an informed choice.

Who Decides?

As an esthetician it may be entirely up to you or it may be a procedure within your salon to do or not do extractions. It is important to check the guidelines of your employer and know their policies before performing any procedure. Remember to explain extractions and their benefits and possible complications to your client. Trust is an important part of any relationship and your client needs to know you are being open and honest with them. The last thing you want as a professional is a reputation for inflicting unnecessary and unwanted procedures or damage to your client’s skin.

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Have you ever wondered why facials are such a popular treatment? If you look at the services offered by almost every spa in the country, facials are among their most popular services. A facial is a beauty treatment for the face that traditional combines cleansing, exfoliation and moisturizes the skin to restore a youthful glow.

Facials should only be performed by licensed estheticians with specialized skin care training. A facial, although a pampering experience, still requires advanced knowledge of products and reactions. A trained esthetician will be able to offer a consultation to determine your individual skin care needs. In addition, some facials involve a process called extraction which is the removal of white or black heads from the skin and can lead to broken capillaries or skin discoloration if done improperly.

Masks are a popular product used during a facial. A mask typically contains minerals, fruits, oils or vitamins that are designed to rejuvenate the skin. Many natural ingredients provide the most effective skin care treatments and are becoming more popular. A facial will remove dead skin cells but another treatment goal is regenerating healthy skin cell production. As we age, this process can be slowed and lead to a dull and worn down appearance.

Before scheduling your next facial, take certain steps to ensure this experience will be positive and beneficial. Acquaint yourself with the different treatments available at your local spa so you can make an informed decision upon arriving. If you have any skin sensitivity, issues or allergies, let the spa know when you schedule your appointment or upon arrival so these can be accounted for. Finally, know your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to discuss any concerns you have with your practitioner. Go over the steps of the procedure

Have a self indulgent moment and book your next facial. It will leave your skin feeling smoother, fresher and brighter!

Chronic headaches are becoming an epidemic in the United States. Headaches occur to all people at some point in their lives and although sometimes they are related to physical illness such as a cold or flu, often they can be traced to tension, poor posture, jaw problems, constriction in blood vessels or just stress. The average headache can usually be easily remedied with a basic over the counter head medication but what about those suffering from chronic head aches? What options are available to not just relieve their head pain but perhaps prevent it from reoccurring?

Before understanding the benefits that can be provided by massage therapy, it is important to understand types of headaches and why they are occurring. Understanding the source of your pain is the first step towards making changes in your life to end your suffering. Although not all problems can be easily gotten rid of, there are several techniques you can try to not let outside influences leave you suffering in their wake.

What Kinds of Headaches Are There?

Tension Headaches: This is an extremely common type of headache that most people will encounter at some point in their lives. It is usually a dull pressure or ache on both sides of the head and sometimes the neck. This type of headache can range in duration from half an hour to up to a week! Imagine trying to take OTC medication for that long without suffering some ill effects!

The Migraine: Perhaps the most unpleasant to encounter because of the sharp, throbbing sensations sometimes located on just one side or the head or spread across both sides. Most migraines last between 4 to 72 hours and are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light and smell. A migraine, especially frequent migraines, can be very interruptive to a person’s life and ability to function.

The Cluster: This could also be referred to as a sinus headache as well because it is a sharp, throbbing pain that is typically isolated around or behind the eye. It can come on very quickly and be very intense for the entire duration (15 minutes to three hours). Other symptoms can include runny nose, watering eye(s), redness in the eyes and agitation.

Now as was previously stated, there are many reasons for chronic head pain and they should not be taken lightly. If you suffer from severe headaches on a regular basis, consult with your doctor to make sure there are no underlying conditions. Frequent headaches can be the first indication of some very serious health problems.

Once you have established that there are no other medical conditions causing your headaches, it is time to seek treatments that will reduce or prevent your headaches from coming back. There is nothing harder than trying to work, play or rest when a throbbing or dull pain is running through your head. Although medications can work to a point, they are merely blocking the pain until it subsides, not offering a cure.

Massage therapy is a field that can provide a variety of health benefits beyond the traditional pampering experience it has become associated with over the past few decades. Treating oneself to a massage may seem to be a self-indulgent practice but just imagine not feeling sore and tired every day. Picture a life without headaches and then try and tell yourself it’s not at least worth a shot.

What Kind of Massage Therapy Should I Try?

Once you have identified the source of your headaches, it is time to seek the appropriate therapy for that problem. Not all massages are the same and if you are seeking specific relief for an existing condition it is important to let your massage therapist know this in advance. They are trained to help you in choosing the correct massage that will provide the greatest benefit and meet the goals you are setting.

Deep Tissue Therapy is an intense massage designed to free connective tissue that has built up in the muscles because of stress. It may surprise you to learn that although we may clear up a tense moment or problem in our daily lives, the stress it created in our muscles remains long after. Your muscles tighten and this incredible tension can lead to frequent head and body pain. Deep tissue massage will help to alleviate that built up stress.

Integrative Bodywork this is a specific combination of techniques designed to improve posture and alignment. Poor posture leads to the head and spine not distributing weight correctly across the muscles and can build up tension in the neck, shoulder and back muscles. This type of therapy will target soft tissue to and work to remove stress and strain of those areas of the body.

Swedish Massage is perhaps the best known type of massage available. If you suffer from chronic tension headaches, this type of massage specifically designed to release tension and promote a feeling a relaxation may go a long way towards helping you reduce or prevent their occurrence entirely.

Final Thoughts

Headaches may be a daily part of your life but they don’t have to be. Don’t resolve yourself to a life of pain when there options available that can promote relief and bring you the relaxation you are looking for. Remember to seek out those influences in your life that may be the source of tension or stress and try to avoid them if possible. If not, learn new ways to approach these stresses so that the build up will not end up in your muscles and head.

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!