Massage | 6 Vital Body Parts Often Overlooked

6 Often Overlooked Body Parts & Massage

For most of us, we tend to feel most tense or in need of massage in our shoulders, back, and neck. Working on these areas feels great and can help you feel much better, but what you may not realize is that there are parts of your body, not commonly thought of, that when massaged, can help create a whole body state of calm and relaxation. 

These 6 often overlooked hotspots on our body, can help you find a new meaning to feeling amazing. You can even massage some of these areas yourself.

1 – Ears

Ears weren’t just made for hearing. They have reflex points that we can massage to counteract whole body and mental stress as well.

One of the most famous anxiety-releasing spots is called Shen Men, or “The Gate of Heaven”.

The Chinese believe pressing near the top of our ears, just inside the rim can immediately bring us into a state of calm, relieve headaches and reduce stress.

Joseph Feuerstein, MD, director of Integrative Medicine at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut reveals how you can self-massage this point:

“Press or massage Shen Men firmly on one ear for a minute as you breathe deeply. Do each ear. Tilt the head from side to side to release the neck, between pressings.”

2 – Thumb

We spend a lot of time using our hands. Our thumbs are a vital part of what makes our hands so versatile and useful. Without our thumbs, we can’t grip, throw, punch, or even get dressed.

There are 8 muscles in our thumb alone!

Fingers have a gazillion nerve receptors connected to our body, which is why our fingers provide a window into our health.

Massaging fingers can release tension throughout the rest of the body. Try it for yourself and feel the difference.

If your thumb is really sore or stiff, to the point that you can’t open a jar, try massaging your hand and thumb to bring relief to tight, painful areas of your hands.

3 – Wrist

Our wrists and fingers tend to be neglected despite their importance and constant use.

Below the wrist is another vital acupressure point known as the “Inner gate” or the Pericardium 6.

According to Mind Body Green, massaging this point helps calm a racing heart. The “wristband technique” is also popular among those who suffer anxiety. Wearing and snapping the rubber bands whenever we’re anxious can calm us down.

If you want a more soothing experience then opt for a wrist massage, or do it yourself. by using your thumb to press on your wrist for four seconds then massaging it in a circular motion.

Clasping your hands as if you’re praying and to open and stretch the wrists relaxes the surrounding muscles and helps relieve wrist tension.

4 – Diaphragm

The average person at rest takes about 23,040 breaths per day.

And the diaphragm is the primary muscle of breathing.

But did you know the diaphragm is also the neglected superstar for core and spinal stability?

Meaning, if your diaphragm isn’t in top shape, you’re more prone to pain and injury. Hence the importance to maintain “core strength”.

5 – Gut

There’s always been a scientific link between gut health and digestion.

Recently there’s a buzz around how massaging our stomachs can be helpful to good digestion.

Dr Iona Bramati of IBC Care, who is a specialist in Visceral Osteopathic Treatment (VOT) believes massage is all about increasing the mobility of our guts.

“Visceral osteopathy is used to optimize blood and lymphatic supply to the internal organs aiming to restore its function.”

Walking, running and exercising are the usual ways that movement of food through the digestive tract is promoted, but as many of us will admit, we don’t move our bodies as much as we should, often sitting at our desks or couches for long periods of time.

The benefits of a simple belly rub are also numerous such as promoting a good nights sleep and relieving abdominal and hip flexor tension.

 

6 – Buttocks or Gluteus Maximus

We often skip massage on our buttocks, even though the gluteus muscles are some of the largest and most used in our bodies.

A variety of techniques include compression, friction, and deep strokes. Getting a butt massage can help counteract long hours of sitting.

It can also help with acute pain, tight muscles and soreness from overuse by relaxing these strong muscles and encouraging proper blood flow to return to the deep tissues of the glutes.

What Does Massage do to Improve the quality of our lives?

Massage has always had a reputation for being the “ultimate pamper treatment”. It just feels good, no matter any related benefits.

 

Unfortunately, stress is the norm for many of us and massage is no longer a luxury.

It is preventive health care that our bodies need to help stay physically and emotionally balanced.

Different massage techniques serve different purposes and help relieve pain, anxiety, depression, improve blood circulation – all leading us to enjoy a happier, healthier life.

We hope you’ve learned a few new tricks to help you manage your health and well-being. We also encourage you to seek out the assistance of a massage professional near you to help keep you on the right track to personal wellness.

Make massage part of your health routine. 

Get in touch with one of our Zen Massage Therapists in Salt Lake City.

Source

Golfer’s Elbow Care & Prevention

Repetitive motion injuries, such as Golfer’s Elbow, are on the rise. 

If you begin having an intense pain in your inner elbow and forearm, or have difficulty gripping and lifting things, you may be suffering from a condition known as golfer’s elbow, which, occurs as a direct result of repetitive motion, generally done incorrectly, over a long period of time.

You don’t have to play golf to get golfer’s elbow

  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Bowling
  • Football
  • Archery
  • Baseball
  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing

All of the above can cause Golfer’s Elbow or medial epicondylitis. It happens when repetitive motion irritates the common wrist flexor tendons near their elbow. The irritation causes pain and decreased functional use of your elbow.

For athletes, Golfer’s Elbow is often brought on by using the wrong equipment, like a golf club or tennis racket that is too heavy or that has a grip that is too large.

Symptoms typically include

  • Pain on the inner, or medial side of your elbow
  • Forearm pain
  • Difficulty gripping and lifting items
  • Pain when flexing your wrist

The key to preventing golfer’s elbow is to avoid overuse. If you feel any pain in your elbow during an activity, stop before it gets worse.

Treatments

A few sessions with your sports massage therapist may be in order to help you gain control of your condition and get back to normal activity.

Sports massage is beneficial for Golfer’s Elbow and for rehabilitation of previous injuries. At Zen Massage our therapists work on the injury location as well as on the muscle groups associated with the injury that may be causing additional pain from over-compensation due to the injury.

Stretches can also be helpful in controlling the symptoms of golfer’s elbow. These should be simple stretches and should not cause pain, and if they do they should be stopped until the pain resolves.

Exercises, also simple ones can be done to help strengthen the muscles and tendons involved with golfers’ elbow, by building up the muscles using proper motions you can help prevent the problem from returning.

Golfer’s elbow usually heals with simple treatment, and does not cause any long-term elbow problems. Treatment is rarely surgical, as this condition is well managed with a little rest and proper treatment and rehabilitation.

Note: Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, should not be confused with tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis.

The massage therapists at ZEN Massage are ready to get you back in playing form. Contact us for Sports Massage Therapy in Salt Lake City

Sports / Injury Therapy — 45 minutes for $65

Call (801) 467-3529

Book Now! http://zen.gettimely.com/book

Learn More: http://zenmassage.net/sports-massage/

Sources:

http://zenmassage.net/sports-massage/

https://paindoctor.com/prevent-tennis-golfers-elbow/

https://www.verywell.com/kinesiology-tape-for-golfers-elbow-2696038

http://golftips.golfweek.com/cure-prevention-golf-elbow-20309.html

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/golfers-elbow-prevention

https://www.verywell.com/physical-therapy-for-golfers-elbow-2696438 

Alignment, SI Joint Pain & Massage Therapy

Each body tells a personal story.  The different ways we use our bodies daily is not always a conscious decision. Let’s be honest our alignment and posture are not always optimal. We have to work, read, hunched over 8 hours at the desk, drive and then we wonder where’s our pain coming from?

​Repetitive motion creates patterns that build our posture. The fascia that lies underneath, throughout your body gets pulled in different directions and creates patches and areas with condensed tissue that need to be smoothed out.​

Massage therapy can provide significant improvement for pain and for works best as part of an integrated approach with your doctor and/or physical therapist.

Physical therapy will alleviate pain through guided and supervised stretching and exercises that increase the stability of the joint. Massage therapy can also help reduce the pain associated with SI joint dysfunction by addressing the muscles and ligaments that support it.

For example, cranial-sacral therapy (balancing the rhythm of the cerebral-spinal pulse) will realign the body and reduce the stress on the SI joint. Using Swedish massage techniques, your massage therapist can relax the muscles and improve circulation in the area.

Massage can relieve the pain and discomfort of SIJ dysfunction by correcting imbalances of the musculoskeletal system. This is the connection between your muscles and your joints and bones. Some practitioners use a therapeutic strategy involving piriformis techniques that address the stability of the pelvis in order to alleviate the SI joint pain.

Corrective massage is designed to counteract harmful muscle imbalances that result in poor body posture. With the repetitiveness of occupation and daily activities, pain occurs due to imbalances created by overuse of certain muscles and under use of others. Our body posture provides a window into musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.

Muscle imbalances affect the whole body, causing stress and fatigue that tighten the muscles and limit oxygen to the cells. Poor posture can limit our body’s potential range of motion creating stress on the musculoskeletal system. The result is chronic pain caused by the weak underused muscles being pushed to their limit. Muscle pain is a strong signal of body misalignment.

Chronic conditions develop over time, and will often require multiple sessions to change the patterns and posture of your body.  As your massage therapist, we listen to the pain and make the healthy alignment changes that are needed using massage. The goal is for you to be pain free and capable of  living an active lifestyle.

It’s important to try the least invasive routes before leaping to potentially addictive prescription painkillers and costly surgeries with lengthy recovery times. In addition to your doctor, seek advice from massage therapists, physical therapists, and holistic health practitioners who can offer alternative approaches to your sacroiliac joint pain management.

The tools offered by doctors to treat pain (pills and surgery) mask the issue and do not get to the root problem, muscular skeletal imbalance. With corrective massage, sessions are interactive requiring you to flex and release certain muscles during the massage to accelerate the results and to re-educate the body so that stretched muscles are contracted and shortened muscles are lengthened. This creates balance in the body. When the body is in balance, it is pain free and strong.

Good communication with your massage therapist is key to getting the best treatment for your body.

Personalized Massage Therapy in Salt Lake City @ http://zenmassage.net/

Sources:

Low Back, Piriformis and SI Joint Pain

Impact of Massage Therapy on Pain

SI Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief Through Massage

Relationship Benefits of Couples Massage

If you’re looking for a memorable Valentine’s gift, that will strengthen your relationship, booking a couples massage is just the thing to help you relax and reconnect with the person you love most.

The power of touch offers major mind-body health benefits. Studies have shown that aside from reducing mental and physical stress, couples massage actually increases the feeling of affection between couples. Couples massage may as well be called a scientific love potion.

Benefits of Couples Massage

Time Together

  • Most couples struggle with making time in their busy schedules to spend quality time together.  A couples massage gives you time to relax together and is a wonderful way to purposefully and intentionally reconnect.

Increased Affection

  • Massage releases oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine in the body, which increases feelings of affection and intimacy, helping couples feel connected and happy both during the massage session and after.

Enjoy the Present

  • The practice of being fully engaged in an activity together helps couples reconnect, and with a little effort, they can bring that same level of mindful awareness to their relationship more of the time. Relationships can get bogged down by uncertainties of the future and memories of the past, but massage encourages couples to embrace the present. During a massage session, people tend to instinctively “let go” and turn their attention to the present moment.

New Experiences

  • Couples who experience new things together, such as massages, bond more closely with each other and encourage more rewarding connections. Trying new ways of getting to know each other is key to a long and happy relationship.

Couples massage is also a great way to introduce your partner to massage in a more comfortable environment. Many people are hesitant at first to the idea of massage, but a couples’ massage allows you to familiarize your partner with the massage process and show them the immense benefits of therapeutic massage while reassuring them along the way.

If you’re interested in booking a Couples Massage in Salt Lake City, Contact Zen Massage Today.

Take Advantage of our Valentines Special – *Book before February 10th, 2018 & get $25 off a 90 Minute Couples Massage 

Book Online Now or Call – (801) 467-3529

Remember, Valentine’s day is not just for couples, you can use this day to show all the most important people in your life how much you love and appreciate them, with a Zen Massage Gift Card

 

Hidden Sugar Is Hurting Your Body

Feeling a bit sluggish? Too much sugar could be the cause.

When the average American swallows 130 pounds of added sugars each year, sugar is toxic. Science shows that this overload of sugar—often stemming from hard-to-detect hidden added sugars—is affecting our bodies in all sorts of ways.

Sugar primes you for diabetes

A PLoS One study found that for every extra 150 calories from sugar available per person each day, diabetes prevalence rises by 1.1%.

It’s easy to recommend giving up sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, but the truth is that those drinks account for just one-third of your added sugar intake. You have to look further, really honing in on labels. Much of the hidden sugars hide out under your own roof, in unassuming places like ketchup, frozen dinners, beef jerky, and bread.

Sugar hammers your heart

You might expect sugar-curbing recommendations from the American Diabetes Association, thanks to sugar’s clear impact on the disease. But the reality is that heart disease and diabetes are intricately related: Heart disease and stroke are the number one causes of death among people with type 2 diabetes, accounting for 65% of those deaths.

Tip – Don’t exceed the American Heart Association’s recommended sugar levels, which are 5 teaspoons for women (20 grams); 9 teaspoons for men (36 grams); and 3 teaspoons (12 grams) for children. For reference, a can of soda generally contains up to 12 grams of sugar; a single slice of whole wheat bread contains up to 2 teaspoons of added sugars.

Sugar creates tense blood vessels

Added sugars cause excess insulin in the bloodstream, which takes its toll on your body’s circulatory highway system, your arteries. Chronic high insulin levels cause the smooth muscle cells around each blood vessel to grow faster than normal, according to The Sugar Smart Diet. This causes tense artery walls, something that puts you on the path to high blood pressure, and ultimately, makes a stroke or heart attack more likely.

Sugar promotes cholesterol chaos

There is an unsettling connection between sugar and cholesterol. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, after excluding people with high cholesterol and/or diabetes and people who were highly overweight, those who ate the highest levels of added sugars experienced the biggest spike in bad cholesterol levels and dangerous triglyceride blood fats, and the lowest good (HDL) cholesterol levels. One theory? Sugar overload could spark your liver to churn out more bad cholesterol while also inhibiting your body’s ability to clear it out.

Eating a protein-rich breakfast can help. Skipping breakfast makes you 4.5 times more likely to become obese. Eating breakfast also helps keep your blood sugar levels more favorable. An added perk? One study found that when overweight women chose protein-rich eggs over a bagel, they naturally ate fewer calories during the subsequent lunch.

Too Much Sugar leads to type 3 diabetes

Brown University neuropathologist Suzanne de la Monte, MD, coined the term “type 3 diabetes” after her team was the first to discover the links between insulin resistance, high-fat diets, and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, her work suggests Alzheimer’s is a metabolic disease, one in which the brain’s ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged. To paraphrase, it’s like having diabetes in the brain.

Know sugar’s many names. Check labels; ingredients that end in –ose are sugar, and so is anything with sugar or syrup after the name. Don’t overindulge in sugary, fatty foods—that seems to be what sets off Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in rat studies.

Here are the 57 sneaky names of sugar.

Sugar creates fat organs

The fructose—a component of table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup—in added sugars triggers your liver to store fat more efficiently, and in weird places. Over time, a diet high in fructose could lead to globules of fat building up around your liver, a precursor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, something rarely seen before 1980.

Try to avoid drinks with lots of added sugars, including healthy-sounding smoothies. You’re better off if the fructose in your diet comes from natural sources like fruit—the fiber helps blunt the sugar shock to your system. Plus, a piece of fruit has way less sugar than a commercial smoothie full of added sugars (some of them contain 54 grams or about 13½ teaspoons worth of sugar!).

“Sugar Junkie”

Much like street drugs, sugar triggers the release of chemicals that set off the brain’s pleasure center, in this case, opioids and dopamine. And as they do with street drugs, people develop a tolerance for sugar, meaning they need more sugar for a feel-good “fix.” In rat studies looking at sugar addiction, when animals binge on the sweet stuff, they experience chattering teeth, tremors, shakes, and anxiety when it’s taken away.

Finally, Sugar wrecks your skin

Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These unwanted invaders attack nearby proteins, damaging them, including protein fibers in collagen and elastin, the components that keep your skin firm and elastic. The result of too much sugar? Dry, brittle protein fibers that lead to wrinkles and saggy skin.

There’s more! AGEs promote the growth of fragile collagen and deactivate your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes. This opens the door to more sun damage, which, as we all know, also damages and ages your skin.

So, instead of reaching for a standard chocolate bar, opt for a bit of organic chocolate with at least 70% cacao. When you feel a sugar craving coming on, walk for 15 minutes. Researchers found a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for a sugar-laden chocolate bar by 12%. Whatever you do, don’t just sit there—that will actually increase your sugar cravings. 

Beware of natural sweeteners, too. Agave products boast a higher fructose content than high-fructose corn syrup. For a sweet treat, use up to a teaspoon of honey no more than once a day. 

 

Sources and more info. on the harmful effects of sugar:

https://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/weird-effects-sugars-having-on-your-body/slide/12

https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp?appName=MobileApp

https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/the-shocking-truth-about-how-much-sugar-youre-eating

 

A Healthy Lifestyle Starts With Sleep

Lack of sleep is never good, but did you know that it increases your risk for serious health concerns?

If you’ve ever spent a night staring at your ceiling or checking the clock every 5 minutes, you know how you feel the next day: tired, cranky, and generally out of sorts. But missing out on the recommended 7 to 8 hours of slumber nightly does more than make you feel grumpy. The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are real. It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at real risk.

Scientific studies show that a lack of sleep causes significant changes in the body, affects long-term memory and increases your risk for obesity, disease, and even early death.

Why Sleep is Important

Sleep is an important function for many reasons. When you sleep, your brain signals your body to release hormones and compounds that help:  

  • decrease risk for health conditions
  • manage your hunger levels
  • maintain your immune system
  • retain memory

Sleep Helps Your Memory

Besides helping you focus, sleep helps protect and strengthen your memory. Research shows that sleeping after learning can help with memory retention. It also reduces interference from external events.

People who are sleep-deprived:

  • have a harder time receiving information due to the brain’s overworked neurons
  • may interpret events differently
  • tend to have impaired judgment
  • lose their ability to access previous information

Harvard Research suggests that sleep helps learning and memory in two distinct ways. First, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Second, sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information.

It’s important to get seven to eight hours of sleep so that you can experience all the sleep stages. No one stage is responsible for memory and learning. Two stages (rapid eye movement and slow wave sleep) contribute to:

  • creative thinking
  • procedural memory
  • long-term memories
  • memory processing

Sleep loss and sleep disorders are among the most common yet frequently overlooked and readily treatable health problems in the United States.

After decades of research, the case can be confidently made that sleep loss and sleep disorders have profound and widespread effects on human health.

7  to 8 Hours for Longevity

Again, the healthy amount of sleep for the average adult is around seven to eight hours each night.

Researchers in the United Kingdom and Italy analyzed data from 16 separate studies conducted over 25 years, covering more than 1.3 million people and more than 100,000 deaths. They published their findings in the journal Sleep. Those who generally slept for less than six hours a night were 12 percent more likely to experience a premature death. People who slept more than eight to nine hours per night had an even higher risk, at 30 percent.

Researchers also found that people who reduced their sleep time from seven hours to five hours or less had 1.7 times the risk of death from all causes.

When we are sleep deprived, our focus, attention, and vigilance drift, making it more difficult to receive information. Without adequate sleep and rest, over-worked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly, and we lose our ability to access previously learned information.

In addition, our interpretation of events may be affected. We lose our ability to make sound decisions because we can no longer accurately assess the situation, plan accordingly, and choose the correct behavior. So our overall judgment becomes impaired.

Although chronic sleep deprivation affects different individuals in a variety of ways (and the effects are not entirely known), it is clear that a good night’s rest has a strong impact on learning and memory.

 

For more information about sleep see these articles:

https://www.healthambition.com/health-benefits-sleeping/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19961/

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep

https://www.howsleepworks.com/need_debt.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body

Https://www.healthline.com/health/science-sleep-why-you-need-7-8-hours-night#Overview1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768102/

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory