Massage notes and news

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Face of Winter

How to Protect Your Skin in the Dry, Cold Months

Barbara Hey

Winter can be tough on skin, but there's much you can do to defend against the assaults of the season. The skin's primary role -- to protect the body -- is ever more important in extreme weather, and in most locations, that means extreme cold outside and dry, over-heated air inside during the winter. Your epidermis must "weather" these drastic fluctuations in temperature, and often the result is chapped, scaly, flaky skin.


Facing the Frost
The biggest wintertime concern is dehydration. In colder climates, you definitely need to increase the protection quotient. "You must over-treat skin to keep it hydrated," says Barbara Schumann-Ortega, vice president of Wilma Schumann Skin Care in Coral Gables, Florida. That means a shift to winter-weight products, such as thicker, cream-based cleansers and moisturizers, to provide stronger barriers against the environment. This is especially important for the face. And if much time is spent outdoors skiing, snowboarding, or walking, for example, your complexion

needs heavy-duty protection from brisk wind and winter sun as well.

"People often forget about sunscreen in the winter," says Schumann-Ortega. For regular outdoor time -- a few hours a day -- a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 should be sufficient. But if a winter trip on the slopes or shore is part of the plan, sunscreen with a higher protective factor is needed, even if your time is spent beneath an umbrella. "Both snow and sand reflect the sun," she says, so don't be caught unprepared. Double your efforts to protect the parts of the face particularly prone to display the effects of dryness: The lips and the area around the eyes need a continual shield against the elements. Ask your skin care professional which products are appropriate for your skin type and effective, seasonal moisturizers and sunscreens.

"When it's cold, you lose blood flow to the skin," says Schumann-Ortega. The result is a dry, dull tone. Facial treatments can increase circulation and rejuvenate a healthy glow. But, Schumann-Ortega cautions, be careful with peels and resurfacing treatments during the winter, as they can do more damage than good with skin that's already taxed from the harsh environmental conditions.

Winterizing the Body
It's not just the face that suffers in the winter. Skin everywhere dries out, and gets that flaky look and uncomfortable winter itch. Hot baths -- a delightful antidote to the chill -- can further exacerbate dry skin. The solution? Add 10 drops of an aromatic essential oil to the bath to moisturize as you soak. (Lavender is particularly soothing to dry skin.) Then apply an emollient moisturizer -- a product that feels particularly thick and creamy to the touch, like a body butter -- geared for extra dry, rough, chapped, or cracked skin. Apply it immediately after drying off, when the skin can most readily absorb the lotion and restore its barrier. If dryness is still bothersome, indulge in a salt rub and full-body conditioning wrap to remoisturize.

And don't forget feet and hands. The feet, hidden by socks and boots all winter long, often go neglected this time of year and need attention, but the most obvious casualties of winter are the hands. Exposed to the elements and the subject of frequent hand-washing during the cold and flu season, hands can turn to rawhide just as holiday parties go into full swing -- not an elegant look for holding onto a champagne flute.

This is the season to slather hands (and feet) with heavy, oil-rich cream at night and cover them with gloves (or socks). In the morning, your feet and hands will feel soft and moisturized. Your skin care professional can recommend appropriate gloves, socks, and a home-care routine for this process. In addition, treat hands and feet to regular spa treatments to exfoliate dead skin cells, and paraffin treatments to replenish and moisturize.



Relax and Enjoy It
In winter, and all seasons, stress can disrupt even the best skin. "We always ask clients what's going on in life, since adrenaline, holiday pressures, and even joy can have an effect on body chemistry," says Schumann-Ortega. The skin reflects it all. "Some clients may come in after four weeks and they look like a train wreck," she says. So do your best to minimize the effects of stress with exercise, meditation, and proper diet. And don't skimp on the self-care. Schedule time for pampering, relaxing treatments.

Some final tips:
- Drink water. Even when there's a chill in the air and thirst isn't overwhelming, water consumption needs to be high to combat the dry air.
- Avoid products with a high percentage of synthetic ingredients (propylene glycol, petroleum), chemical detergents (sodium laurel sulfates), and artificial colors and fragrances.
- Employ quality skin care products suited to your skin type.
- Check your medications. Illness and ongoing pharmaceuticals can upset pH balance.
- Incorporate nutritional supplements into your skin health regimen, such as essential fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, and B vitamins.

Ask your skin care professional about hydrating products and circulation- enhancing treatments to ease the long, dry months of winter and maintain healthy skin. After all, spring is just around the corner.

"Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. "
Confucius

The Scoop on Meditation

A Simple Practice with Profound Benefits

People who meditate regularly appear internally and externally five to 10 years younger than their non-meditating peers, according to author Deepak Chopra. That's good news for the estimated 10 million people who practice meditation on an ongoing basis and experience the resulting calm it cultivates.

The rich benefits come from doing something that looks like nothing: Sitting still, being quiet, and breathing deeply. Meditation works simply but profoundly by defusing the onslaughts of life -- a racing mind, busyness, deadlines, commutes, all of which have physiological effects on well-being. Meditation calms the nervous system, decreases metabolic rate, heart rate, and blood pressure, and lowers levels of cholesterol, stress hormones, and free radicals. It also has a direct effect on breathing, slowing and deepening respiration so more oxygen circulates throughout the body. Not only that, meditation is said to lessen feelings of anxiety and depression and improve memory and concentration. And all of this culminates in slowing the aging process, as Chopra notes.

There are many meditation techniques, including focusing on a mantra, a sacred word or phrase, or your breath. But the basic intent of all meditation is focus and attention. And it doesn't take hours a day in an ashram to meditate effectively. Benefits kick in with even a short period of devoted time.

How to begin? Wear comfortable, unrestrictive clothes, sit on a cushion or chair with your back straight (think once again, comfort), rest your hands on your legs, let your eyes go soft and out of focus or close them, breathe slowly and deeply, and -- the hardest part -- attempt to empty your mind of thoughts and quiet the internal dialogue. When thoughts flit through your mind, let them pass without judging them and come back to your focus (your mantra, counting, etc.) and breathing.

Start with this sitting meditation technique for five minutes a day, and add on time as you get more at ease with the process. For more information on techniques and benefits, check out www.abc-of-meditation.com.

High Time for Tea

Discover the Healing Properties of Taking Tea

The health research is enough to make you forego the latte for strong brewed tea instead. Name your color -- black, white, green, even red -- teas are packed with disease-preventing antioxidants (more than some fruits and vegetables) and contain vitamins, minerals, and at least half the caffeine of coffee.

Fortified with free radical-fighting polyphenols, tea drinkers have a reduced risk of many different cancers, in particular stomach, colorectal, and even skin cancer. Tea drinkers also have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol. Containing anti- inflammatory and arthritis-preventing properties, tea also helps stimulate the immune system and protect the liver against toxins.

But you have to drink up. Most research points to five or so cups of brewed tea each day to reap the health benefits. Decaf tea loses some but not much of its health punch, due to extra processing.

All traditional tea -- white, green, oolong, and black -- is derived from the leaves of an evergreen tree called the Camellia sinensis, and all contain the health-promoting polyphenols. White tea is made from young tea leaves, dried in the sun without fermentation or processing. Green tea is dried with hot air after picking, so it retains its color but is not fermented. Oolong tea, sometimes referred to as "brown" tea, is fermented but not processed to the point of black tea. Black tea, on the other hand, is fully fermented, which accounts for the color of the leaves and its stronger flavor.

Rooibos, or red tea, is naturally caffeine-free and from the Aspalathus linearis, a shrub that grows only at high altitude near Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Herbal teas are made from a variety of plants, roots, bark, seeds, and flowers and are technically herbal infusions rather than tea. Though they don't contain the same antioxidants and haven't received the same research-based accolades as traditional tea, the herbs in these infusions have certain healing properties that have been used for centuries to treat many common health issues.

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."
George Washington Carver

Sunday, September 26, 2004


The Benefits of Massage
Bodywork Goes Beyond Relaxation

As you lie on the table under crisp, fresh sheets, hushed music draws you into the moment. You hear the gentle sound of massage cream being warmed in your therapist's hands. Once the session gets underway, the daily stressors and aching muscles fade into an oblivious 60 minutes of relief, and all you can comprehend right now is not wanting it to end.

But what if that hour of massage did more for you than just take the pressures of the day away? What if that gentle, Swedish massage helped you combat cancer? What if bodywork helped you recover from a strained hamstring in half the time? What if your sleep, digestion, and mood all improved with massage and bodywork? What if these weren't just "what if's"?

Evidence is showing that the more massage you can allow yourself, the better you'll feel. Here's why:

Massage as a healing tool has been around for thousands of years in many cultures.

Touching is a natural human reaction to pain and stress, and for conveying compassion and support. When you bump your head or have a sore calf, the natural response is to rub it to feel better. The same was true of our earliest ancestors.

Healers throughout time and throughout the world have instinctually and independently developed a wide range of therapeutic techniques using touch. Many are still in use today, and with good reason. We now have scientific proof of the benefits of massage -- benefits ranging from treating chronic diseases and injuries to alleviating the growing tensions of our modern lifestyles. Having a massage does more than just relax your body and mind -- there are specific physiological and psychological changes that occur, and even more so when massage is utilized as a preventative, frequent therapy and not simply mere luxury. Massage not only feels good, but it can cure what ails you.

The Fallout of Stress
Experts estimate that 80 percent to 90 percent of disease is stress-related. Massage and bodywork is there to combat that frightening number by helping us remember what it means to relax. The physical changes massage brings to your body can have a positive effect in many areas of your life. Besides increasing relaxation and decreasing anxiety, massage lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, improves injury recovery, encourages deep sleep, and increases concentration. It reduces fatigue and gives you more energy to handle stressful situations.

Massage is a perfect elixir for good health, but it can also provide an integration of body and mind. By producing a meditative state or heightened awareness of the present moment, massage can provide emotional and spiritual balance, bringing with it true relaxation and peace.

The incredible benefits of massage are doubly powerful if taken in regular "doses." Researchers from the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami, found that recipients of massage can benefit even in small doses (15 minutes of chair massage or a half-hour table session). They also note that receiving bodywork two to three times a week is even more beneficial. While this may not be feasible, it's nice to know that this "medicine" only gets better with frequency.

What It Does
In an age of technical and, at times, impersonal medicine, massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive, and humanistic approach based on the body's natural ability to heal itself. Following is a brief list of the many known, research-based benefits of massage and bodywork:

- Increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs,

- Stimulates the flow of lymph, the body's natural defense system, against toxic invaders. For example, in breast cancer patients, massage has been shown to increase the cells that fight cancer. Furthermore, increased circulation of blood and lymph systems improves the condition of the body's largest organ -- the skin,

- Relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles,

- Reduces spasms and cramping,

- Increases joint flexibility,

- Reduces recovery time and helps prepare the body for strenuous workouts, reducing subsequent muscle pain of athletes at any level,

- Releases endorphins -- the body's natural painkiller -- and is proving very beneficial in patients with chronic illness, injury, and post-op pain,

- Reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred,

- Improves range-of-motion and decreases discomfort for patients with low back pain,

- Relieves pain for migraine sufferers and decreases the need for medication,

- Provides exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles and reduces shortening of the muscles for those with restricted range of motion,

- Assists with shorter labor for expectant mothers, as well as reduces the need for medication, eases postpartum depression and anxiety, and contributes to a shorter hospital stay.



Appreciate yourself by allowing yourself the opportunities to grow, develop, and find your true sense of purpose in this life. Anonymous

Somatic Semantics

What Exactly is CAM?

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to healing modalities that don't fall into conventional Western medical philosophy, including bodywork, acupuncture, herbology, homeopathy and mind/body techniques. CAM is becoming a more familiar term as approximately 125 million Americans suffering from chronic illness -- arthritis, back pain, hypertension, and depression -- look for solutions that conventional medicine can't provide.

"Complementary" modalities are used together with conventional medicine, such as utilizing aromatherapy to lessen a patient's discomfort following surgery. "Alternative" modalities are used in place of conventional medicine, such as using herbs to treat stomach upset rather than taking pharmaceuticals. And the merging of alternative and conventional medicine is referred to as "integrative medicine," connoting the idea of combining the best of both healing philosophies.

CAM is continually gaining the respect of the Western medical system, as indicated by the nearly 100 medical schools now offering courses in
alternative therapies. The University of Arizona is an exceptional model of such a school, offering the nation's only postgraduate, two-year Program in Integrative Medicine (PIM). Founded in 1994, PIM is designed to teach small groups of physicians how to integrate holistic modalities into their practices. These doctors are committed to a fundamental redesign of medical education including such principles as:
--Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body's innate healing response,
--Consideration of all factors that influence health, including mind, spirit, and community,
--A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative medicine uncritically.

For more information and research about CAM, visit the nonprofit Alternative Medicine Foundation's website, www.amfoundation.org.

"Sometimes just a smile on your face
Can help to make this world a better place.
Stand up for the things that are right.
Try to talk things out instead of fight.
Lend a hand when you can, get involved this is good.
You can help to make a difference in your neighborhood."
-- Robert Alan

Bob Burkholder

Certified Massage Therapist

Please call (717) 377-7030 for an appointment.

Monday: 10AM – 6PM

Tuesday: 10AM – 6PM

Thursday: 10AM – 6PM

Friday: 10AM – 6PM

Monday, May 31, 2004

Two-Way Street
Communicating with Your Massage Therapist
Sharron Leonard


People get massages for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you're seeking stress relief from the weekly work commute or your wanting to cleanse your body of toxins. Or maybe massage is helping you recover from a sports injury or surgery. Whatever your reasons, it's absolutely important that you explicitly communicate to your therapist the reason you made the appointment. Otherwise you run the risk of not getting what you want.

In addition to explaining any wellness requirement, you also need to clarify your comfort needs during the session so that you feel completely at ease. Most practitioners work to create an appropriate environment with elements such as the temperature, music, aromatherapy, and table setting. But if anything makes you uncomfortable, feel free -- or rather, feel responsible -- to say as much. Your therapist is as interested as you are in making sure you get what you want from the massage, and building a communicative partnership is key. Remember, communication is a two-way street.


The Body
Sandy Anderson, owner of Relaxing Moments Massage in Reno, Nevada, asks at the beginning of each appointment, "What is the focus of our session today?" -- whether it's the client's first or 21st appointment with her. The therapist needs to know your wellness context. Even if she has your health history, circumstances -- and bodies -- are always changing. Perhaps you were traveling for the last two months spending significant time in cramped seats on airplanes. Maybe you're training for a marathon race, logging numerous miles each week. Or, a more likely scenario, you're stressed and feeling emotionally tapped out.

Furthermore, it's important she or he knows about your massage preferences that just make your massage more pleasurable, such as getting extra work on your feet or ending the session with a face massage. Perhaps it's important to you to have the therapist "stay connected" by keeping her hands on you rather than, for example, going from your feet to your shoulders. By simply letting her or him know of any such information can vastly improve your session.


The Setting
"I have designed my treatment room to offer a basic comfort level based on my professional experience," Anderson says. "But I need the client to tell me if something is not to her liking. For example, I have provided a small fountain that I thought provided soothing background sounds, but two of my clients have requested that it be turned off because it made them feel as though they needed to run to the restroom."

One important amenity issue that should be discussed by the client and the therapist is massage-table comfort. "I use a heated table covered with a sheet and a blanket because as the active therapist I need the room temperature lower than what is comfortable for the client," Anderson says. "Then I ask the client what adjustments she might want me to make." Even if your therapist doesn't specifically ask about the temperature, background sounds, aromas or whatever other subtle amenities in the room, if there's something that's making your massage less than great, be sure to discuss it with your practitioner.


The Conversation
Conversation can sometimes be a point of contention. Because some clients like to talk during a session while others prefer silence, Anderson believes it's up to the client to dictate this aspect. She does not inhibit talking nor does she initiate conversation if the client is silent. If you want to tactfully make certain your therapist is not overly conversational, it is appropriate to say something like, "You will find that I am not very talkative. I just like to totally relax during this time." While your practitioner may communicate aspects of the massage, don't necessarily take this for her trying to make conversation.

Angie Parris-Raney, owner of Good Health Massage Therapy in Littleton, Colo., believes it's very important for the therapist to explain her actions so the client is not surprised. "Whether I'm easing a first time massage client's apprehension by explaining I will only be uncovering one part of the body at a time or I'm doing a rehabilitation treatment for injury, illness or surgery, I have learned from experience the client wants detailed information on what is going to happen," Parris-Raney says. "It is also helpful if she tells me how she feels about what I am doing. Is the stroke too deep or too light? Does she want me to use a slower or faster pace?" If you are unclear about an expectation or a procedure, even if it is something as simple as, "Where is the safest place to put my jewelry?" feel free to ask.

Massage client Andrea Scott explains her frustration with one massage session where she wishes she'd been more vocal. "I like deep tissue massage, and the practitioner was giving me a very light Swedish massage," she says. "I just didn't feel like I was getting anything out of it and found myself looking forward to the session just being over. For some reason, I thought it would be rude to say anything, but in retrospect, I'm sure she would've appreciated it." Instead, notes Scott, she left disappointed and the massage therapist never had a chance to address the issue.

Your goal as the client is to get what you are specifically seeking in each session. Your practitioner wants the experience to meet your expectations and will appreciate you verbalizing your wellness requirements and personal comfort needs. Your massage therapist is your partner for healthy living, but she can't read your mind.






Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Just added to my "related links" is a medical government site called Medline. This site contains detailed medical information and also interactive medical procedures. Go back to "related links" and select the third link.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

The following link shows and explains some stretches that can be done in an office environment.

http://www.lib.msu.edu/ergomsu/stretch.htm

Under "How to stretch" on this link, I concur with the comments and I would also
suggest that while holding a stretch, please use the following breathing technique.
After reaching a comfortable stretch, hold the stretch, slowly inhale for a count
of 5, hold for a count of 2, and then slowly exhale for a count of 5. During the
exhale, the body should relax and the muscles should stretch a bit more.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

What to expect during a massage

Where Will My Massage or Bodywork Session Take Place?
Your massage or bodywork session will take place in a warm, comfortable, quiet room. Soft music may be played to help you relax. You will lie on a table especially designed for your comfort.

Who Will Perform the Massage or Bodywork?
If you have located your massage therapist through Massage Finder, you can be sure your session will be conducted by a professional who has received proper training. All practitioners on Massage Finder are members of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), an organization of more than 40,000 massage therapists. As a condition of membership, ABMP verifies the training and credentials of every one of its practitioners. Some massage and bodywork practitioners are licensed by the state, while others are locally regulated. Although no two massages are exactly alike, you may request a certain technique or modality. You may also request your preference of a male or female therapist.

Must I Be Completely Undressed?
Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed; however, it is entirely up to you what you want to wear. You should undress to your level of comfort .You will be properly draped during the entire session.

Will the Practitioner Be Present When I Disrobe?
The practitioner will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet or towel.

Will I Be Covered During the Session?
You will be properly draped at all times to keep you warm and comfortable. Only the area being worked on will be exposed.

What Parts of My Body Will Be Massaged?
You and the practitioner will discuss the desired outcome of your session. This will determine which parts of your body require massage. A typical full body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders. You will not be touched on or near your genitals (male or female) or breasts (female).

What Will the Massage or Bodywork Feel Like?
It depends on the techniques used. Many massage therapists use a form of Swedish massage, which is often a baseline for practitioners. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. Often, a light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil also helps hydrate your skin. You should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting.

Are There Different Kinds of Massage and Bodywork?
There are numerous types of massage and bodywork; various techniques utilize different strokes, including basic rubbing strokes, rocking movement, posture and movement re-education, application of pressure to specific points, and more. Ask the practitioner about the methods he or she uses.

How Long Will the Session Last?
The average full-body massage or bodywork session lasts approximately one hour. A half-hour appointment only allows time for a partial massage session, such as neck and shoulders, back or legs and feet. Many people prefer a 60- to 90-minute session for optimal relaxation. Always allow relaxation time prior to and after the session. Hot tubs, steam baths and saunas can assist in the relaxation process.

What Should I Do During the Massage or Bodywork Session?
Make yourself comfortable. The practitioner will either gently move you or tell you what is needed throughout the session (such as lifting your arm). Many people just close their eyes and completely relax. Others like to talk during their session. Feel free to ask the practitioner questions about massage and bodywork in general or about the particular technique you are receiving.

How Will I Feel After the Massage or Bodywork Session?
Most people feel very relaxed. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water following your massage.

What Are the Benefits of Massage and Bodywork?
Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Massage and bodywork is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being. Click here for more details on the benefits of massage.

Are There Any Medical Conditions That Would Make Massage or Bodywork Inadvisable?
Yes. That's why it's imperative that, before you begin your session, the practitioner asks general health questions. It is very important that you inform the practitioner of any health problems or medications you are taking. If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Your practitioner may require a recommendation or approval from your doctor.

Thursday, March 06, 2003


THE BENEFITS OF MASSAGE THERAPY


Massage from a trained and skilled Massage Therapist relaxes, manipulates and rejuvenates sore muscles, putting the whole body in a state of well being. Relaxation is one of the top healing aspects of massage. Massage gives the mind and body some time to “zone-out” momentarily, then gives it a chance to regroup and focus on healing itself instead of fighting against itself.




MORE BENEFITS


Helps people who have a hard time sleeping at night.
Great for sports enthusiasts who like pushing their bodies to the limit, in fact, training with massage can increase those limits.
Beneficial in keeping the skin healthy.
Massage is best for people in high stress jobs, people working with computers, on phones or on their feet all day or people who lift a lot or sit or stand in unnatural positions.
Improves blood circulation.
Helps move lymph fluid to aid the immune system.
Promotes inner awareness and raises life energy.
Improves injury recovery time and range of motion.
Promotes general well being and relieves pain.
Improves vitality and stamina.
Clears and sharpens the senses.
Calms the nervous system.
Reduces tension, anxiety and fatigue.