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.

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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