Archives for posts with tag: massage therapy

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.

With so many types of massage and alternative therapies available today, it can be difficult to understand just what services a massage therapist is offering to you when you book an appointment at your local day spa. Although you don’t need to understand the intricacies of every type of massage out there, a basic understanding of any service you are about to receive is important for you and the therapist. The key to massage is clear communication between the therapist and client so your needs are met and the therapist can adjust treatment for your specific goals and requirements.

Reiki massage does not actually exist as a type of massage therapy. Reiki actually refers to the usage of spiritual energy to heal a person’s aura or situation. Massage can be incorporated into massage therapy however and many massage therapists receive training to combine the two practices and promote spiritual and physical well-being. But what should you, as a client, expect during your visit?

A typical Reiki massage will begin at the head and the therapist will cover the seven chakras or energy centers of the body. Reiki massage would be very different for someone expecting a traditional massage that involves kneading and muscle work. A therapist performing Reiki will actually keep their hands still during the appointment and the healing energy is sent through channels from the practitioner to the client.

A massage without muscle work may not seem like a massage to you so let’s take a look at what the benefit of Reiki massage offers to clients. Reiki is used to treat many different conditions including TMJ (sometimes called lock-jaw), muscle pain, tension, stress and injury healing and pain management (just to name a few).

Reiki massage does not require skin-to-skin contact and as a client, you should experience no ill side effects from this type of treatment. Reiki therapists are taught meditation and hand placements for the seven areas of the body. Reiki therapists transfer energy to the body and remove negative energy – treatment for different conditions or concerns may be fast or occur over a period of time. This is true of any type of therapy as severe conditions may require extensive treatments to obtain maximum benefits.

Reiki massage is certainly not for everyone and this article is not meant to encourage reiki as an alternative to more traditional therapies for medical conditions. Understanding treatments offered is the first step towards becoming a more knowledgeable client and make your massage therapy beneficial. If you don’t believe in or support Reiki try working with your massage therapist to find a type that is more aligned with your needs and goals.

As Western culture seeks new and more holistic methods for treating certain ailments, there are many that have been brought over from China and Japan and slowly introduced into United States culture. Always consult with your primary health care physician before utilizing any alternative therapies to know if they are safe and recommended. Some medical conditions are not conducive to receiving massage and any known medical problems should be reported to your massage therapist prior to your session.

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.

As a massage therapist or wellness practitioner you may struggle with constant questions about whether or not it would behoove you to expand your skill set and learn new techniques to offer your clientele. It is easy to argue both sides of the matter since learning new skills often requires a commitment of time, money and effort with no absolute 100% guarantee that it will work out. Looking at the situation that way, it is no wonder so many people end up in a professional “rut”.

So what are the two sides of this particular issue?

The question boils down to one simple matter: if you take the time to learn something new, will your clients want this new service? Which of course leads to further questions about expanding your business in the future.

If you are worried that adding new services may alienate your existing clientele, don’t. Experience has taught many practitioners first hand that new services are often more exciting to existing clients than they are to the practitioner! Remember, a massage or facial is a treat and finding something new on the menu can be a great way to mix up an old routine for you and your client. Keeping your service menu fresh and updated will encourage your clients to come back for more. Although you may have some that resist change, they can always stay with their tried and true without harm to your business.

What about attracting new clients? An important part of business growth is knowing how to reach new clientele. Offering the “basic” services everyone already expects from a masseuse or wellness practitioner will not put you ahead of the pack. In fact, not branching out can hurt your business as it may appear out of day or obsolete. We are a culture that thrives on change and innovation – two concepts that do not rhyme with stagnation.

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Continuing education classes have never been more available or adaptable to your schedule. Many courses are available as a seminar or even a home study course for you to learn on your own time. Taking the effort to expand your professional career and techniques will benefit you as a business owner or as a employee. The more you know and the better you market yourself as a specialized expert, the better your business will be.

Take a chance this year and try something new to shake up your business. The Bellanina Facelift Massage continuing education course is a great way to entice existing clientele to try something new, encourage repeat business and market to a new and expanding market base. As the baby boomer generation grows older, they will be looking for treatments that are non-invasive and effective. The Bellanina Facelift Massage is time tested and can offer an amazing choice for your clients.

Contact Bellanina Institute today to learn more or to register for your seminar today. Bellanina Facelift Massage home study course is approved by the NCBTMB for 16 continuing education credit hours and the 3 day seminar is approved for 24 continuing education hours.

Choosing someone to work on your body is an important decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your like most people, you probably wonder about what sort of training a person has and if they really know what their doing. Knowledge and experience are the cornerstones that make a great therapist or esthetician but how can you choose if you don’t know what those abbreviations following their names mean? LMT, CMT…what’s the difference and how that affects you?

Use this simple guide to understand those credentials and make an informed decision!

LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist)

Most states regulate the practice of massage therapy and require licensure to practice as a massage therapist. Remember that massage manipulates the body and can impact health and functioning. A licensed massage therapist has gone through the training required by the state and has the required knowledge and competency to practice their profession. This process is non-voluntary and is the highest level of regulation.

CMT (Certified Massage Therapist)

This is publicly attesting that a service or person has reached or exceeded a certain level of quality or standard. Certification requires a certain level of educational criteria to be met in order to use this title. Certification can be in a specialized field or bodywork practice and can be received through continuing education later in a massage therapist’s career. Certification is usually through a private institution or agency and is a voluntary process.

In the United States…

Massage therapy is monitored by the states and not the federal government. This means that the standards and requirements can vary by state and should be investigated by those seeking to become massage therapists or those looking to determine what qualifications are required to become a massage therapist in their state. Most massage therapists are required to receive 500 to 1000 hours of massage training including courses on physiology and anatomy. Specialized training can vary and may require additional outside training after their initial program.

You Have Right to Know

Don’t be afraid to ask your massage therapist about their qualifications, education and experience before receiving any type of treatment or service from them. Schools will provide certificates to therapists upon completion of their program to prove they have received the training necessary. Remember that this is someone who will be working on your body and it is important to choose someone who knows what they are doing. Massage, when done improperly, can cause damage (especially to someone with existing health conditions). So learn all you can before making your decision!

Continuing Education Opportunities

As a massage therapist you have the opportunity to expand upon your basic training and become a specialist in your field. Remember that people are looking for a massage therapist that can offer them the maximum results. Try learning something new today such as the Bellanina Facelift Massage program. Offered as both a 3 day seminar or a home study course, this program will make you a leader in your field! Learn more today online at Bellanina Institute!

Aromatherapy is a service growing in popularity across the United States as people seek new ways to decrease stress and increase their energy through natural and holistic means. This technique blends the use of essential oils with therapeutic massage body work to relieve tension, stimulate relaxation of the mind and help increase the energy flow throughout the body. Aromatherapy seeks to utilize the power of your senses to indulge your body and mind throughout your experience.

The use of essential oils is pivotal to any aromatherapy treatment because it is these specific oils that will provide many of the benefits this service offers. “Essential oils” is a general term that includes natural, aromatic, volatile, plant oils and absolutes. These are often coupled with other natural ingredients to increase the effects such as oils, powders, sugars, clays and mud. These combinations will not only provide the stimulation to your senses through scent but your skin will benefit as well from the ingredients of the natural products.

Essential oils are NOT the same as perfumed oils and this distinction should be clearly understood. Perfumed/fragrant oils have synthetic chemicals added to them and will not provide therapeutic benefits for the body. These products are not regulated however, so it is important to really understand the ingredients of any oils and understand if they are true essential oils designed for aromatherapy or not.

Aromatherapy is the unique combination of the healing powers found within all natural ingredients and the benefits offered through intense muscle massage and bodywork. Therapists trained in aromatherapy are skilled in determining the correct balance of oils, natural products and technique that will benefits the client to the fullest extent possible. Some therapists are trained in holistic techniques that utilize the benefits of aromatherapy as a treatment for many chronic health conditions.

As with any type of massage therapy, the benefits will depend entirely on the individual receiving the treatment. Although massage therapy offers many health benefits, this therapy should not be used in place of other therapies. Aromatherapy is a treatment that can be enjoyed by anyone and should be seen as an indulgent experience that will provide a temporary escape from the stresses of everyday life and stimulate the mind and body. This can be a wonderful gift for someone in your life or a chance to give yourself the gift of relaxation.

Learn more today by visiting http://www.bellaninadayspa.com or visit our sister company http://www.bellaninainstitute.com for more information about essential oils and massage therapy continuing education opportunities!

Winter is coming and that means falling snow, holidays, sled rides and…..dry skin. Every winter thousands of people dread the appearance or worsening of their dry skin symptoms and seek new ways to beat this powerful foe. This year, take control of your skin and don’t let itchy and flaky skin put a damper on your winter wonderland.

Dry or itchy skin is a common condition that can occur all year round but peaks during the colder months when there is a drop in the humidity. Normally healthy and hydrated skin becomes dry, cracked and flaky. Mature skin may show increased fine lines and wrinkles due to the lack of moisture. For the most part, dry skin effects the arms, hands, legs and feet but can also occur on the trunk of the body or even the face (chapped lips anyone?).

The most common complaint when suffering from “winter skin” is a persistent itchiness that can be made worse when in contact with fabrics or liquids. Over time excessive cracking can and will lead to thick and rough patches of skin (called lichenification). This thicker skin not only develops lines and wrinkles but is prone to developing painful cracks (fissures) that may result in bleeding and irritated skin. Severe skin conditions can result from bacterial infections that can develop because of these and other conditions such as nummular eczema (red, scaly patches of skin) or dermatitis (inflamed skin).

The potential outcomes of winter skin are enough to take notice and take action before things get out of hand. Always remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and that is especially true in health care. Developing a proper skin care routine and faithfully maintaining a schedule will reduce your chances of developing winter skin this season.

Why does winter skin develop in the first place? The cells in the outermost layer of your skin are designed to protect the body and hold in the water to hydrate the interior layers. Loss of this water prevents the outer layer from doing its job and soon the moisture your skin so desperately needs to stay healthy slips away and you are left with dry and unhealthy skin. This can occur from over washing the hands (a frequent problem in the nursing field), exposure to harsh chemicals, changes in humidity and the natural aging process are all frequent culprits. Although some people naturally have “dry skin” and suffer this problem all the time.

Treatment options are available and can be quite effective in preventing or relieving the symptoms of winter skin. Water is not the solution and can frequently worsen the problem, not solve it so step away from the sink! A good moisturizer however is a great way to penetrate the skin and trap moisture in so the skin becomes smooth and supple. Choose a moisturizer specifically designed to target dry skin and use it regularly. If you have more severe symptoms, consult with a doctor and discuss potential treatment options – dry skin can sometimes require pharmaceutical grade products that are not available over the counter. Not all over the counter products to treat itchiness are safe to use on irritated skin so consult with a doctor or pharmacist before use.

Increase the humidity in your home or office if possible. There is no way to change the environment outside but by making strides to limit your exposure to the dry air, the better your skin will feel. Humidifiers are readily available in most local stores and online.

Remember to use sun block, even in the winter. Some sun blocks include a moisturizer along with SPF protection so you would receive double benefits! If you are outside, cover up your skin and limit sun exposure when possible. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean your skin is not suffering from UV radiation.

Cover up your hands when you go outside and remove wet articles of clothing as soon as possible. The skin on your hands is some of the thinnest skin on your body and cannot bear being constantly exposed during the winter months! Stay warm and protect your skin!

Avoid skin treatments that will exfoliate or strip the skin of essential oils if possible. Remember it is the loss of moisture and natural oils that dried your skin out to begin with, don’t cause further aggravation with harsh chemicals! This can include masques, exfoliants and peels.

Protect your lips when going outside. Use a lip balm to keep the moisture in and banish those unsightly cracks – you will thank yourself. Remember that irritated skin reacts poorly when exposed to different materials and spicy food on sensitive lips can cause more than just a little discomfort.

Learning to control your winter skin is a battle well worth fighting. Just think of all the discomfort you have endured in the past seasons and make a commitment for this year to be different (a great New Year’s resolution!). If you are prone to dry skin, try keeping your regimen going all year round to see maximum benefits. Some treatments may require a few days to work to their full extent so be patient with your skin and allow it the time it needs to heal.