How Our Bodies Register the Power of Touch

The Surprising Science Behind the Healing Power of Touch

By Anne Mullens with additional research by Jennifer Krissilas, Reader’s Digest Canada

It’s the sense that we most often take for granted—and one cannot live without. Check out the surprising science behind the healing power of touch.

How Our Bodies Register the Power of Touch

Of our five senses, touch is often the one we take for granted. Science has only begun to understand the highly complex system of nerves, sensors and receptors that link our skin and brain to our environment and the people around us.

“There’s still so much we don’t know about touch sensations,” says David J. Linden, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University and the author of 2015’s Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind. What we do know, he says, is that there are separate sensors for texture, vibration, pressure and itch.

One of the leading touch researchers in the world is Dr. Håkan Olausson, professor of clinical neuroscience at Linköping University in Sweden. He was part of a team that found special touch fibres, called C-tactile afferent fibres, which are responsible for regis­tering and transmitting to the brain the emotional meaning of gentle strokes and caresses. These nerves respond optimally when touched at around 32 C—the temperature of a human hand. “They are particularly sensitive to caresses but also respond to many other types of touch, such as pressing on the skin,” Olausson says.

When the CT fibres aren’t working properly, a gentle touch instead feels aversive and can undermine attempts to form emotional connections to others, says Francis McGlone, a neuroscientist at Liverpool John Moores University in England. CT stimulation, when delivered through nurturing touch, impacts the neural networks in our brains that allow us to see ourselves as separate beings with needs that are different from others. Without this ability, individ­uals may be unable to read emotional cues, making it difficult for them to empathize. Research last year, led by McGlone, found that children on the autism spectrum may have a difference in the functioning of their CT fibres that causes them to find soft touch from others unpleasant.

For individuals whose CT fibres function normally, however, touch can bring a great amount of bene­fit, McGlone says. Gentle contact can reinforce social relationships, communicate positive feelings, and even make us more capable of dealing with stress.

 

Continue Reading the Original Article Here

Men, Women & Massage

Everybody needs a massage, but men and women tend to get massages for different reasons.

Massage is a truly natural form of therapy that can address and relieve symptoms of all sorts of health complications.

While self-care is the main reason for massage, there are many other benefits that come along for men and women.  

Men often don’t get massages as frequently as they should. Here are some reasons men should be getting a massage on a regular basis.

  • Workout recovery
  • Mood Boost
  • Fewer gray hairs
  • Cure desk stiffness
  • Be comfortable in your own skin
  • Improved flexibility
  • Better sleep
  • Cardiovascular wellness
  • Manage back pain

Gentlemen, what are you waiting for? Book your Zen Massage today.

Women tend to think about getting a massage as pampering – like it’s some kind of indulgent luxury. Massage is a service that focuses on you. It gives you time to relax and let the stress melt away. You and your masseur work together to identify the areas where your stress hides, relieving you of physical pain and clearing your mind so you can tackle any task.

More than anything, women report feeling revitalized after a massage. If that’s not enough, here are the top reasons women should be getting massages regularly. 

  • Manage Stress
  • Make You Look Younger
  • Reduced Use of Painkillers
  • After Pregnancy Massage
  • Increased Energy Levels
  • Boost Your Immune System
  • Relieve Anxiety and Depression

Think about what your body does when you are down in the dumps. You might feel achy and weak, your shoulders droop, you drag your feet and you slump over. Massage experts call this a “structural collapse” that happens when we feel depressed.

Massage tends to address many symptoms that are a result of anxiety or depression. It may help to lower blood pressure levels, alleviate tough headaches, improve breathing, settle your nerves and more.

Makeup artist Gucci Westman told the Wall Street Journal that she often gives fashion models facial massages before they walk down the runway. “For early morning shows when everyone’s puffy and not quite awake, facial massage is like coffee for the skin. Everything comes to life.” 

Ladies, what are you waiting for? Book your Zen Massage today.

 

These benefits are only the beginning of what massage can do for your body and your life.

What benefits do you know about?

What have you experienced as a result of massage?

 

Book Your ZEN Massage in SLC today!

(801) 467-3529

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

Massaging the Psoas

How Massage Therapists Treat Psoas

The psoas is a deep-seated core muscle connecting the lumbar vertebrae to the femur. The psoas major is the biggest and strongest player in a group of muscles called the hip flexors: together they contract to pull the thigh and the torso toward each other.

It is one of the more sensitive areas a Massage Therapist can treat. Getting in and working on the psoas is a skill in itself. It takes practice and some clear communication with your patient.

I want to share a technique that is as useful as it is uncomfortable, this is the way I used to do it.

The psoas has spinal attachments and is more than just a hip flexor. Some studies think it functions as a stabilizer. Since it attaches to the spine, the only way to release it manually is to go DEEP.

This technique will help:

  • Female runners with SI problems (lack of hip extension causing SI and lumbar hypermobility, plus inhibition of hip abductor/extensors)
  • Older patients with stenosis (lack of hip extension causes lumbar hyperextension, further closing the stenosis)
  • Hip capsular patterns – will improve hip external rotation
  • Posteriorly rotated ilium
  • Pt’s with diffuse anterolateral thigh complaints from compression of femoral nerve
  • Pt’s with spondylolisthesis may help in conjunction with soft tissue work to the paraspinals.
  • And a stabilization program

Your patient should lay supine with knees and hips flexed. Use an even finger grip, both 3rd and 4th fingertips with your elbows flared out so that your fingertips have even contact. Start about 2-3″ laterally to the umbilicus and slowly move from superficial to deep until you can’t move any further.

The abdominal contents will move out of the way. If you move too quickly, you will activate the rectus abdominus and the contraction will push you out.

How do you know you’re on it?

Here are two signs to make sure:

  • It’s not pulsing, if it is, go more lateral as you’re on the descending aorta!
  • Ask the patient to slightly flex their hip; as soon as they do, you should feel it contract under your fingertips

Start with oscillations, and you can progress to functional release movements starting with heelslide (you push proximally as patient slides heel distally), ipsilateral upper extremity elevation, combination upper extremity elevation and heelslide, then anterior pelvic tilts.

The last is the most uncomfortable, and maybe even the first time you can get a patient to posteriorly pelvic tilt correctly, as they want to move away from your hands! Perform for 5-7 minutes or until you feel a change. Reassess function, ROM, special test, or however you came to the conclusion the patient had a restricted psoas to begin with.

Techniques For Massage Therapists To Work Psoas Pain Free

Let’s be clear, you are nowhere near the psoas when doing a release, but this is the new way I do it.

I am just targeting the area around and above, and am very general to release lower quarter tone anteriorly, that’s about it.

Why you should use this

  • it doesn’t hurt
  • it rapidly improves hip and lumbar motion
    • if a patient needs sidegliding in standing for an ipsilateral lower quadrant issue, but is unable to move without discomfort

Patient:

  • supine, in hooklying
  • at least the involved lower extremity needs to be bent at the hip and knee

MT:

  • standing on the involved side
  • use either the pads of digits 3-4 of both hands or even easier, an EDGE Mobility Ball (any ball will do)
  • assess resistance to superficial to deep pressure lateral to the umbilicus on one side versus the other
  • the side with increased resistance is the side you should treat

Technique:

  • lightly apply superficial to deep pressure, it SHOULD NOT cause any pain
  • at the point of resistance that is highest, have the patient complete 3-5 diaphragmatic breaths
  • make sure they exhale fully
  • the exhalation will help reduce tone autonomically

re-test the limited hip and/or lumbar motion.

As it is with so many other techniques in Massage Therapy communication and consent is key. Make sure when attempting this treatment that if you feel the pulse, you move off of it quickly as you do not want to compress the descending aorta. Whether you’re helping someone with stenosis, spondylolisthesis or just SI issues treating the psoas can give you and your patients greater success in treatment. 

Source: MTDC

 

Book Your Massage in SLC today!

(801) 467-3529

5520 South Van Winkle Expy
Salt Lake City, UT 84117

Stealing a Little Time for Yourself, Guilt Free

Making Time for Yourself Can Greatly Improve Your Relationships

Whether you’re single, married, or in a relationship, the demands of life and the expectations of those nearest and dearest to your heart can make finding time for yourself a huge challenge. Between dedicating time to parents, children, partners, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends, colleagues, and work, it’s hard to even dream of stealing a little time for yourself.

Couple that with the guilt that many people, especially women, experience when they manage to find a few moments of time for themselves, and it becomes clear why so many people feel that finding time for themselves isn’t worth the effort. But worth the effort it is, and not only because of the personal benefits you’ll reap. Alone time has interpersonal benefits as well.

Personal Benefits of Solitude

Taking time for yourself gives your brain a chance to reboot, improves concentration, increases productivity, helps you discover (or rediscover) your own voice, gives you a chance to think deeply, and helps you problem solve more effectively. It also gives you a better sense of balance and self-awareness that can lead to a better understanding of yourself–what drives you, what inspires you, what excites you. This, in turn, can have a positive effect not only on the quality of your relationship with yourself, but also on the quality of your relationships with others.

But in today’s world, how do you find the time to give to yourself? And equally important, how do you deal with the guilt when you somehow manage to find it?

“Finding” Time

As overscheduled as our lives are these days, it can be quite a challenge to find time for yourself. There are a few things you can do, such as using your lunch hour, waking up a little earlier than everyone else, and temporarily disconnecting from your gadgets. If you’ve tried these tricks and still can’t seem to find any time to schedule for yourself, then you may need to take a hard look at your schedule and your priorities.

What are some things you’re doing now that can be consolidated or eliminated? Is there anything that can be postponed? What can be delegated? Maybe it’s true that you can do things better than everyone else, but in most schedules, there are some things that don’t need to be done better; they just need to be done. By delegating those tasks, you can free up some time for yourself, which may be much more productive in the long run than doing everything yourself.

Another important point to remember is that you don’t have to come up with hours and hours of alone time. Just start off small and see what happens. Hopefully, the little bit of time you steal for yourself will become so reinforcing that you’ll find more and more ways to get more of it.

Overcoming the Guilt

Some people, particularly women, feel guilty about taking time for themselves. They see themselves as the one who should be taking care of everyone else, and their needs often fall by the wayside. However, taking care of yourself is something that you should never feel guilty about. It not only models healthy behavior for the ones you love, but it also keeps you happy, healthy, and strong so that you can continue doing what fulfills you; and if that’s taking care of others, then you’re in an even better position to do that.

Guilt is counterproductive to reaping the full benefits of solitude. If you spend all or even some of your “found” time feeling guilty that you found it, then doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

If you need even more justification to lose the guilt, consider these points:

♦ Spending time with yourself is time well spent because it makes you a happier person to be around.

♦ Spending time with yourself benefits everyone because by having a happier and healthier mindset, you’re in a better frame of mind to take care of the people who are important to you.

♦ Spending time with yourself is preventative medicine to combat burnout. What good will you be to anyone if you eventually burnout? (And you will if you don’t take care of yourself.)

Overcoming Resistance

Once you begin making time for yourself, dont be surprised if you don’t run into a little resistance from those in your life who are used to you always being available. There are many reasons why this resistance might happen–insecurity, overdependence, feeling slighted or rejected, or simply because they have become accustomed to always having you around. Don’t let their resistance stop you. Reassure these people that you’re still there for them, but in order to be there for them over the long haul, you also have to also take care of yourself. Then, do it! Just as they’ve grown accustomed to you always being there for them, they’ll get accustomed to you taking time for yourself.

Hopefully, the ideas here will leave you inspired and motivated to find ways to make time for yourself.

“When we take some time to solely think about ourselves, and not have to consider our impact on others, we begin the process of true self-awareness. It can be a little daunting at first, but the result of this awareness is that you learn what drives you, what excites you, and what motivates you. This new-found self-awareness is a beautiful thing and it can have a dramatically positive effect on your life and relationships.” – Marty Herald’s Personal Growth and the Art of Inspired Living blog.

So give yourself a gift that will keep on giving … time for yourself.

Booking a Massage @ ZenMassage.net is a great way to get your free time in.

Take time for yourself and feel great!

Book your Massage online @ ZenMassage.net

Or call  (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage | Luxury Massage in Salt Lake City, Utah

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

 

Source:  Psychology Today

Stretching Is Essential | Zen Massage

Stretching Is Essential

Body Basics

Have you ever seen a cat get up and start moving without stretching? 

If you’ve ever watched a cat you’ll have noticed each time they begin to move they stretch! They listen to their bodies! With busy daily life, we humans tend to ignore our most basic needs.

When we don’t stretch regularly, we overuse, fatigue, shorten and tighten our muscles and the connecting tissues. This leads to decreased circulation, reduced flexibility, and an increased risk of injury or disease. 

Tune-in to what your body is trying to tell you! Notice that compelling feeling to stretch when you wake up? And again, at the end of the day when you’re tired? That is nature’s way of telling you that you need to move! Move more oxygen around your body . . . And yet a lot of us spend our days sitting at our desks barely moving.

Staying flexible as we get older is something we can all work towards. After all, loss of mobility is a slow process that creeps up on you. Many of us don’t recognize it’s happening until our bodies become imbalanced, compensation sets in, and we begin to suffer pain and discomfort.

NOW is the time to start helping your body perform as it was designed to so that it can continue to perform over time. After all, stretching is a workout in itself!

Daily Stretching Benefits

Stretching techniques can take as little as 10 minutes, but provide a multiple of benefits, including:

  • Improved posture, circulation, and range of motion
  • Accelerated recovery from injury
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Relief from muscle soreness, strains, or spasms
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Enhanced ability to relax
  • Balance promoted throughout the body

Proper Stretching Technique

It is essential to practice proper stretching techniques.

  • Warm up first
  • Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds
  • Don’t bounce
  • Focus on a pain-free stretch
  • Relax and breathe freely
  • Stretch both sides
  • Stretch before and after activity

Here are a few good stretches to try:

Be sure to check in with your physical therapist before starting any stretching program. 

Stretching regularly can help your body and joints move more freely, allowing you to enjoy full functional mobility.

Add a Zen Massage

Stretching is wonderfully beneficial for your body, but add in a massage once or twice a month and your body will be thanking you well into your old age!

Book your Massage online @ ZenMassage.net

Or call  (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage | Luxury Massage in Salt Lake City, Utah

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117

Massage & CrossFit | SLC

MASSAGE IS AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT TO CROSSFIT RECOVERY

Massages feel great and they provide excellent recovery assistance for CrossFit athletes. Getting a regular massage once a month or more can help you reduce soreness and risk of injury while increasing mobility so you can perform better.

During high-intensity exercise, lactic acid and general toxins from acidity increase in your muscles. Your body can naturally clear lactic acid and toxins with time and rest, however, massage can help expedite the process, especially when you are working out often.

OTHER BENEFITS OF MASSAGE INCLUDE:
Massage lengthens fascia and muscle easing it back into place. This increases range of motion and has the added benefit of making your muscles look more toned.
Increases blood flow and circulation getting more oxygen into your body.
Decreases and anxiety and stress.
Helps reduce pain and inflammation in the joints, tendons, nerves, and bones.


THE BEST TIMES TO GET A MASSAGE:
At least 45 minutes after you have completed your workout for the day.
During recovery periods – rest days.
3 days before a competition or race. This will help improve your range of motion and mobility for your competition.
After a competition or race to help you recover quickly.

 

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MASSAGE
You may find that your muscles are sore the next 24 – 48 hours after a massage. Help your body recover and get the most benefits from your massage by doing these few things:

Drink lots of water before and after your massage. Being properly hydrated assists with lymphatic drainage and blood flow.
Do a cold plunge right after your massage. This helps prevent toxins from reentering the muscles.
Practice Yoga or stretch an hour or more after the massage to assists the toxins to leave your body.
Use heat packs or have a warm bath with Epsom salts to reduce muscle tenderness.
Get a good nights sleep.

Book your Massage online @ ZenMassage.net

Or call  (801) 467-3529

Zen Massage | Luxury Massage in Salt Lake City, Utah
5520 South Van Winkle Expy
Salt Lake City, UT 84117

Massage for Skiers | Knee Injuries Utah

This area of the body has garnered some skiing notoriety, for good reason: the knee.

How Can Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Massage Help Rehabilitate Knee Injuries for Skiers?

Knee injuries account for 30-40% of all reported skiing injuries. Because of the amount of landing and cutting, with sudden changes of direction, skiing puts a lot of pressure on your muscles and joints, particularly the hips and knees. And when muscle imbalances exist, injury can occur. For example, uncontrolled landings play a large role in skiing injury; if your hip abductors and muscles of the pelvis have a propensity towards tightness, they are unable to fully stabilize your body in a landing or a fall. This leaves the lion’s share of responsibility for stabilization to your knees. And that’s not what they are built for. At high speed, a sudden twist or turn to attempt to avoid a crash or soften a landing will impact the most vulnerable body part involved in such movement, often resulting in knee ligament tears or strains.

This is one of the reasons why a strength-training regimen is so important for creating muscular balance for skiers. Building up strength in the larger muscles in the inner and outer thighs provides a better network of support for the smaller, more volatile ligaments surrounding and supporting your knee, and helps ensure stability and endurance in skiing. Pre-season exercises are key to developing muscle strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles.

Most knee injuries that are incurred while skiing are ligament strains or tears. Symptoms often include pain, swelling, and a restricted range of motion around the injured ligament. Injuries are graded in severity; less severe strains may be treated with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory measures, while more serious ruptures may require immobilization and even surgery.


How can Massage Therapy Help with Knee Injuries?


The Massage Therapy approach I best like taking is to nip knee injuries incurred through skiing right in the bud, before you even put on your goggles. Pre-season Sports Massage Therapy for skiers is pointed towards identifying and addressing any muscle imbalances. We will attempt to decrease hypertonicity in your hip abductors. We will keep your hamstrings flushed out and encourage strengthening exercises. We will release any tightness in your quadriceps. All of these measures help ensure that you are working with a proper, balanced body mechanism that will support healthy knee function.

But what about receiving Massage Therapy treatment after a knee injury for the purpose of rehabilitation?

When dealing with a strained or torn ligament, there’s not a lot that we can do directly to the acute injury source. However, we can employ Deep Tissue Massage to focus our work on creating change in the structure around it, by improving circulation to the outlying areas. We promote the healing process by keeping the soft tissue as healthy as possible.

In addition, many people recovering from an injury feel generally uncomfortable; the pain and sudden state of immobilization can throw your nervous system into a state of chaos and frustration. Massage Therapy sedates the nervous system, promotes a healthy balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and helps your reaction to the injury not be so devastating.

And of course, if you’re hobbling around on crutches, you may find yourself overworking previously underused upper body muscles! Your traps, lats, muscles of the shoulder, forearms, and wrists may suffer secondary consequences. So we can take care of those as well, in your Massage Therapy session.

Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Massage can help keep you off those pesky crutches and on the slopes.

Book your Sports Massage @ ZenMassage.net

(801) 467-3529
5520 South Van Winkle Expy
Salt Lake City, UT 84117

5 Reasons to Get a Massage This Fall

5 Reasons to Get a Massage This Fall

Changes in weather from season to season cause physiological changes in your body, you might notice some symptoms as a result. Massage therapy increases the number of killer cells that your body naturally produces and uses as its first line of defense against sickness. This is just one of several reasons you may want to consider getting a massage this fall.

Massage Supports Your Immune System

One of the physiological changes that you might experience when the seasons turn from summer to fall is a weakened immune system. This is because the drop in temperature makes your body rebalance itself faster than usual. Massages support a healthy immune system, which protects you from seasonal illnesses such as allergies and the flu. According to a study, massage therapy increases the number of killer cells that your body naturally produces and uses as its first line of defense against sickness. It does this by stimulating your lymph nodes to remove harmful bacteria, toxins, and waste. Getting a massage can even help you get over a cold.

Helps Your Body Heal

Summer activities and sports such as kayaking, running and swimming give you the exercise that you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and flexibility. Even going on a road trip or vacation with the family can be exercise. However, a lot of exercise can take a toll on your body and cause dehydration over time. After all of the activities that you participate in during the summer, it’s important to allow your body to recover. A massage can help this process along before the physiological changes occur in your body.

Gives You More Energy

Cooler temperatures and shorter days come with the changing of the leaves, and you might feel less inclined to spend time outdoors or be active. Continuing to exercise and participate in sports, however, can reduce the toll that winter takes on your levels of energy. Similarly, getting a massage increases the flow of blood and oxygen through your body. This makes it easier for your circulatory system to deliver nutrients where they’re needed, which gives you an energy boost.

Improves Sleep

Most people feel cranky when they don’t sleep well or enough, but did you know that poor sleep can lead to chronic conditions such as depression and cardiovascular disease. It’s not always easy to get eight hours of sleep every night, particularly when your body is going through a physiological transition at the beginning of fall. Studies show that getting a massage increases serotonin levels so that you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Relieves Seasonal Stress

Along with the physiological transitions that come with the passing of summer into fall are the stresses of modern living. Some of these include the return to school, extra lawn maintenance, and preparation for the holidays to come. The hustle and bustle of fall can catch up to you, exposing you to illnesses that only a healthy immune system can fight. Massage therapy helps to melt the stress away so that you can take a breather. It’s also a great way to renew your commitment to taking care of yourself.

The significant benefits of massage therapy on your body and mind are too good to ignore. Allow your body to recover and relax with a massage.  Book Now 

Source

Why We All Need to Touch and Be Touched

Why We All Need to Touch and Be Touched

Our mind, brain, and body are not separate from each other.

Sharon K. Farber Ph.D. | The Mind-Body Connection

Being touched and touching someone else are fundamental modes of human interaction, and increasingly, many people are seeking out their own “professional touchers” and body arts teachers– chiropractors, physical therapists, Gestalt therapists, Rolfers, the Alexander-technique and Feldenkrais people, massage therapists, martial arts and T’ai Chi Ch’uan instructors. And some even wait in physicians’ offices for a physical examination for ailments that have no organic cause—they wait to be touched.

The body-oriented approaches are based on a principle that is becoming more obvious to researchers. Ken Wilbur wrote in The Spectrum of Consciousness , “For every mental ‘problem’ or ‘knot’, there is a corresponding bodily ‘knot’, and vice versa since, in fact, the body and the mind are not two. That is, psychic conflict, guilt, shame, unresolved grief all can be lodged in the body as body memories, and when the site of the psychic difficulty is deeply touched through massage or other manipulation, it can not only release the physical pain but may make the psychic pain accessible.

Soon after my mother died I developed a case of “frozen shoulder”. It causes stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint and often occurs for no known reason. My doctor had told me that because my shoulder was “frozen”, there must be adhesions, or scar tissue that were freezing up my shoulder joint. And probably my body lacked something called synovial fluid, needed to lubricate the shoulder joint. I asked him what. He could not tell me what caused this to happen because medicine does not really understand why. I like to understand why things happen the way they do and he could not tell me. But I was in pain. I could not sleep in the usual position I sleep in, I couldn’t reach for something on a shelf without feeling pain. He referred me for physical therapy and so I made an appointment.

As I lay on the examining table, the physical therapist came in, smiled, introduced herself and explained what she was going to do. As soon as she put her warm hands on my bare shoulder, tears welled up in my eyes. I was surprised and embarrassed and turned my head away from her gaze so that she would not see. I suspect she noticed. She continued examining me and I relaxed and found that I enjoyed it. It felt like a massage, something I am not used to having. She recommended that I come in three times a week and I had to arrange my schedule to do that. She did various exercises with me that I was advised to do at home. As I followed her instructions, I thought and felt a great deal about my mother, with whom I had a complex and ambivalent relationship. I stretched and cried, cried and stretched, wrote about what I was feeling, and after a few months I was better. The pain of my loss had lodged itself in my body, and a woman’s warm touch started to release it. It also probably released some oxytocin in me, the hormone of love and attachment. As I mourned her loss over several months, I realized something. I had had a hard time crying for my mother, whom I loved very much but whom I was angry with too. When there are difficulties in mourning a loss, somatic or psychological difficulties may present themselves. The body speaks when we do not have words for what we are feeling. The therapist’s warm touch on my shoulder was lubrication for my soul, needed for me to let go and feel the loss, complicated and ambivalent as it was.

Treatment that uses direct touch can have a depth and potency that can have a great therapeutic impact, which provides some explanation for why so many people are seeking out their own “professional touchers” or are filling the waiting rooms of physicians, waiting for the doctor to find the cause of the pain and make them better. In the process, they are touched. When the patient is assured that the work of the professional toucher is free from infringement, that sexual contact is clearly out of bounds, and that the patient can say “no” to any intervention the body-work practioner proposes, then the patient can have the experience of trust and physical touch in the context of a controlled respectful relationship.

Nature is so intelligent for creating oxytocin, the hormone of love and attachment. Kerstin Uvnas Moberg became a world authority on ocytocin through her personal experience. When she was pregnant, delivered, and nursed her four children, she was struck by feeling a state of mind so different from the stress she was used to in connection with life’s other challenges. Wanting to understand this scientifically, she learned that there is a key biological marker—oxytocin—that can explain this sense of calm and connectedness in pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing, and through this research, discovered that oxytocin is able to influence many vital operations in the body. Her research showed that the level of oxytocin in the blood during nursing was correlated with the mothers’ subjective experiences of calmness, and ability to interact with their babies. Oxytocin stimulates growth during pregnancy and stimulates the uterus to expel the newborn It restores the balance between stress and calm It stimulates the muscle activity of orgasm (in both men and women) and can strengthen the attachment bond. We are told that “oxytocin is with us throughout our lives.” She wrote that

When you were born, oxytocin helped expel you from your mother’s womb and made it possible for her to nurse you..As a small child, you enjoyed your mother’s and father’s loving touch because it released oxytocin in your body. As an adult, you experience the effects of oxytocin when you enjoy good food, or a massage, or an intimate interlude with your romantic partner (Uvnas Moberg 2003, p. 65).

If you’d like to learn more about oxytocin, read Uvnas Moberg’s book The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love, and Healing.

When people lack love and touch in their lives this can result in bodily self harm, such as in eating disorders or self-mutilation. If you’d like to learn more about this and about “professional touchers” , read my book, When the Body Is the Target: Self-Harm, Pain, and Traumatic Attachments.

Source : Psychology Today

How to Have the Best Massage Experience

It’s no surprise that a massage can seriously soothe your mind and body, and you already know a solid rubdown has impressive health perks, like better blood circulation, amped immunity, anxiety relief, and even improved sleep quality.

But beyond the obvious, there’s a lot to wonder about the magic of massage. Few therapies are quite so up-close-and-personal, so to avoid awkward moments, wasted cash, and most importantly potential pain, it’s crucial to be in the know.

How to have the best possible massage experience

It’s Fine to Get Naked

It can be a little uncomfortable to strip down to your birthday suit in front of someone you’ve never met, but really, it’s totally normal. Remember, massage therapists are trained professionals and your undressing can actually lead to a better appointment. Undress to the point of where you feel comfortable, professionals keep you covered with sheets or draping where appropriate, but you should know that undergarments can sometimes get in the way of long strokes or pressure points and inhibit you from experiencing the best massage possible.

Remember to Breathe

When your massage therapist is working out a particularly bad knot, it can be tempting to tense up a little bit and hold your breath. Please, don’t do this, or you may miss out on one of the major benefits of that rubdown. It’s crucial that you breathe fully and deeply when difficult areas are being worked on so as to oxygenate your blood supply and aid tense muscles.

Drink a Ton of Water After Your Appointment

It’s especially important to hydrate post-massage. Like when working out, your muscle tissues can become dehydrated during a massage. Drinking plenty of water after your massage is very helpful in rehydration, building healthy muscle tissue, and removing wastes that accumulate as your muscles are worked out.

A Warm Shower Before

For the best possible rubdown, it’s important to take care of yourself before you step foot in the spa. The easiest and most relaxing way to prep? A long, hot shower. The relaxation effect of a warm shower on both the mind and the muscles will help you be less tense during the session, which will benefit you as well as the therapist. Also, being and feeling clean can help mitigate body insecurities if they come into play. Plus, the therapist will appreciate your cleanliness for obvious reasons

Hit the Gym Before Your Massage

Definitely pump the weights, cycle or take the run before, not after, your massage. The muscles you work may be a little tired from the exercise itself, but should be nicely warmed up for the massage.  Working out immediately after a massage is not a good idea as you are likely to stress and strain the muscles that were just relaxed.

Request Your Preferred Massage Style When You Schedule

There’s nothing worse than leaving the spa feeling, well, meh. While they’re trained to help your body, massage therapists can’t read your mind, so it’s best to tell the receptionist if you have any preference of therapists, pressure, or massage types when you book your appointment. This will help ensure you’re matched with someone who will be able to best work with your needs—for example, relaxation vs. deep tissue injury work.

Be Strategic About Timing

While there’s no perfect hour to schedule a massage, you still probably want to consider the timing of your appointment. To do this, think about what makes sense for you and your schedule. Some people feel invigorated after receiving massage and use it to start their days, while others like to eliminate stress from work and life with massage after a long day, and relax knowing they are done for the day.

Bodily Functions, Well, Happen…

Massages are sure to chill you out, but did you know they can also improve your digestion? So, if you’re getting a rub down and hear some grumbling noises and yes, even flatulence, don’t freak. It’s easy to be embarrassed, but there’s absolutely no need to be: “It’s not uncommon for people to pass gas during a massage session, it’s completely normal,” says, Dr. Helen Litovsky, Massage Therapist at Zen Massage. If you’re worried, avoid any high-fiber foods before your appointment. Litovsky also suggests hitting the bathroom before your session and not drinking too much water right before you hit the table, since there’s nothing worse than having to pee while someone is pressing on your bladder.    

Avoid Eating Right Before

Generally, a full meal right before you hit the spa is a no-go, as massage certainly stimulates digestion. Eat lightly right before a massage, and have a meal a few hours prior. Don’t starve yourself in the preceding hours, as you may feel dizzy or light headed during the massage as a result. Eating lightly one to two hours beforehand will allow for digestion while not making you feel uncomfortably full.

Speak Up

It may seem out of place to tell your massage therapist to do “more of this” or “less of that,” but that’s exactly what they want you to do. In fact, the worst thing you can do is say, “I just want a good massage”. During the massage, you shouldn’t be afraid to tell your therapist if something is uncomfortable, the pressure is not right, or if you have a question about what your therapist is doing. Be sure to ask them to spend more time on a certain area if that is what you want—at the end of the session is too late, and this is your massage.

It Shouldn’t Hurt

A little pain is necessary to get the job done, right? Not necessarily. There may be slight pain in stretching or having tight or tensed muscles worked on, but relaxation really is the key. If too much force is provided, the muscle tightens up more and creates even more pain and possibly bruising muscle and damage. So, again, be sure to let your therapist know if something hurts. We promise, they won’t be offended.

If You Feel Any Soreness, Treat It

Your muscles can get a little sore after a massage for the same reason they do after a stellar exercise session: They’re being worked pretty hard! You wouldn’t ignore tight or painful muscles after a long run, so you shouldn’t after an intense rubdown either. After deep work, icing is recommended to lessen the immediate soreness. Light stretching is a nice touch too, because the muscles are warmed up, so light yoga or even getting an adjustment at a chiropractor after is perfect harmony.

Communicate any distractions

If the music makes you uncomfortable in any way, or the temperature of the room becomes too cold, let your therapist know immediately. These distractions will take you away from your body,  and ultimately your relaxation.

One Rubdown Every Few Years Isn’t Going to Do Much

ZEN Massage in Salt Lake City. Has monthly memberships to make your massages more affordable. We know you live a busy life, we are here to help take your mind off the daily stresses and make your massage therapy experience as relaxing as possible. Try our online scheduling feature to schedule your next massage.

Reduce stress and feel great, with the best masseurs in Salt Lake City, Book with ZEN Massage today!

(801) 467-3529

5520 South Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, UT 84117