Listen to Your Body

Recently, I heard from a client that she really didn’t understand what people mean when they say “listen to your body”.

Thanks to Jessi Kneeland for explaining it to us!

“Listening to your body” simply means learning how to tune in, to the way your body talks to you.

It’s a skill that lets you tune into the way your body talks to you. You’re constantly receiving messages from your body in various forms like hunger, thirst, pain, pleasure, lust, sickness, emotions, and the desire to find a bathroom. Some messages feel good, and some are uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean that the message itself is actually good or bad.  Your body’s messages to you are always neutral; they’re just information being sent to you by your body. In fact, by judging those messages as good or bad, it’s actually much harder to hear them.

We have such an aversion to feeling uncomfortable that our first impulse upon is often to suppress or ignore uncomfortable feelings as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, when you get in the habit of automatically suppressing your body’s messages, you miss out on what those messages were here to tell you. All of our body’s messages are neutral. They’re just information, and each message has a specific purpose and job.

Unfortunately, people rarely seek out solutions for messages that are less loud-and-clear. Society has us convinced that it’s normal for our bodies to feel broken most of the time. Most people live with chronic fatigue, headaches, low back pain, anxiety, and/or poor digestion. They suppress and ignore their body’s messages as best they can, never stopping to explore what the message is there to teach them.

We are meant to feel far more vibrant than most people feel nowadays. But you simply cannot achieve optimal levels of energy and health without learning how to listen to and interpret your body’s messages. 

Ways your life improves when you learn to listen to your body:

1. Feel less crazy around food

Many women have completely screwed up hunger and fullness signals, thanks to years or decades of intermittent yo-yo dieting. Many of my clients have spent their entire adult lives suppressing and ignoring their body’s messages around food in an effort to lose weight, and they come to me completely unaware of what it actually feels like to be hungry or full.

As you might imagine, being able to hear your body when it says “I’m hungry” and “I’m full” makes it a helluva lot easier to know when to eat and when to stop. It also makes it easier to know what to eat. Imagine knowing the difference between real cravings and emotional/boredom cravings, and being able to consciously decide which ones you’ll act on!

Doing the work (and yes, trust me, this one often takes a lot of work) to hear and understand your body’s messages around food and eating will make it easier to lose and keep off weight, remove guilt from the eating equation, and erase chronic stress around food. Instead of trying to adhere to a random set of rules and restrictions, it becomes mind-blowingly simple: what will make my body feel good?

2. Less pain

Many people sit at desks all day and move only during their workouts. It’s impossible to completely undo the physical stress of a lifestyle like that, but by listening to your body, you can keep the damage to a minimum. Lower back pain isn’t always a lifetime sentence, for example. It’s often just a message that something needs to be explored and adjusted. Often that means changing the way you sit, stand, move, sleep, breathe, or train.

Also, you’ll be less likely to get injured as you increase awareness and start to explore yourself. You’ll move better, get stronger, and become more unbreakable as you listen to how your body feels in each posture, movement, and position.

It’s important to mention here that our society will try to convince you that everyone has chronic pain and that it’s totally normal to feel broken from your mid-twenties on. I challenge you to not accept that because it’s simply not true. 

3. Better workouts

Learn the difference between “good pain,” and “bad pain,” and you’ll know when to safely push yourself at the gym, and when to dial it down a notch.

What does it feel like when your body is craving rest, versus when it’s craving a workout? What does it feel like for your glutes to be firing and functioning properly in a squat, versus your low back or hip flexors to be doing most of the work?

Tuning into your body gives you better information to work with, which leads to better overall durability, as well as stronger muscle contractions. This means better, faster, and safer results at the gym.

4. Better health

Your body tells you when you need to slow down and relax, often in the form of subtle signals like tiredness and flare-ups of old chronic issues. If you ignore those messages, it’ll send louder messages in the form of sickness, injury, panic attacks, or mysterious and seemingly random physical symptoms.

By paying attention to your body’s messages, you can avoid a lot of those health issues by catching them early and figuring out what you need, re-balancing, and bring yourself back up to 100%. That can include anything from getting a massage or more sleep,  to prioritizing alone time, remembering how to truly relax, or practicing better self-care.

Beyond avoiding sickness though, learning how to tune into your body will also give you the information you need to elevate your day-to-day health from “I feel fine” to “I feel amazing.”

5. More pleasure

One of the side effects of habitually suppressing the body’s uncomfortable messages is that you also automatically suppress a lot of the pleasurable messages! Learning how to tune back into pleasure will help you identify and pursue more of what feels good for you, bringing more immediate joy and gratification into your life! This applies to movement, sex, friendship, hobbies, and pretty much everything else.

Plus, the brain will strengthen any neural pathways you make it travel down frequently. That means the more you practice tuning into your pleasure messages, the louder and stronger those messages get. (Aka: you’ll be able to experience more frequent and intense pleasure.)

6. Sharpen your emotional intelligence

Emotions are physical. We feel them in our bodies, so habitually tuning out your body’s signals means you also tune out your emotions! That makes for some seriously confusing adulting. (What do I want to do with my life? Who do I want to date? WHO AM I?!)

Don’t put your brain in charge of shit it’s not qualified to do. It’ll do the best it can, but being in touch with your emotional landscape is crucial if you want to be able to make informed decisions that help you build a rich, fulfilling, authentic, and joyful life.

Being in touch with your emotional landscape is crucial if you want to be able to make informed decisions that help you build a rich, fulfilling, authentic, and joyful life.

Start thinking about your emotions. Where in your body do you feel sadness? How about anger? Joy? What does each emotion feel like? Is it cold, warm, soft, or hard? Does it have a color or texture? Is it tight and small, or big and open? Does it move around or sit very still? Get to know your emotions as physical experiences, and then start noticing when each one shows up.

This will offer you some CIA level intelligence when it comes to what you need and what’s going on for you. Maybe your brain doesn’t know you’re mad yet, but the cold tightening feeling in your belly when you see your partner says otherwise.  Access to this data will truly transform your life.

7. Stronger intuition

Much like emotions, your intuition shows up physically; that’s why we call it a “gut feeling.” Learning exactly what your intuition feels like will allow you to identify and trust it quickly and effectively. If something feels “off” to you about a person or situation, but you’re not in tune with your body’s signals, you may confuse your body’s “get out of here” signal with anxiety, even indigestion!

8. Increase your autonomy

The brain will strengthen whatever neural pathways you frequently use, meaning the more you listen to your body’s messages, the louder those messages become. You want those messages to be loud because that means you never again need to listen to anyone else who tries to tell you what’s best for you.

Your body is the be-all, end-all when it comes to knowing what’s right for you. Dr. Oz and fear-mongering fitness magazines have no power over you if you’re listening to and trusting your body. If some celebrity starts an “only eat blue foods” trend, for example, you won’t have to blindly fall prey. You can simply use your body’s messages to inform you. Do you feel good when you eat red, brown, yellow, and green food? Yes? Great, then this diet trend probably isn’t for you.

9. More self-trust

The louder your body’s messages get, the better of a job you can do of asking questions, exploring, and addressing whatever you uncover. With practice listening and responding to your body’s messages, you’ll very likely feel more energized, empowered, stronger, happier, hotter, and healthier. With all of those things comes trust in yourself.

This is huge because self-trust is the enemy of anxiety and insecurity. Knowing that I did this lets you relax into yourself, trusting that you and your body are always on the same team and that the answers are always inside you.

Credit to :

9 Unexpected Benefits to “Listening to Your Body”

Massage Therapy

Daily frustrations manifest in your muscles, leaving you sore, achy, only adding to the mounting stress. Massage is a service that focuses on you and 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, massage clients report feeling revitalized after a massage.

Book a massage appointment online today!

ZEN Massage in SLC. Has monthly memberships to make your massages more affordable.

We know that you live a busy life and we are here to help take your mind off the daily stresses in your life and make your massage therapy experience as relaxing as possible. Try our online scheduling feature to schedule your next massage to a relaxed state of mind. So if you’re ready to reduce stress and feel great, and only want the best masseurs in Salt Lake City, contact us and set up an appointment with ZEN Massage today! 

Why Get A Sports Massage?

Sports Massage

Why Get A Sports Massage?

Sports massage is a good choice if you have a specific problem, such as tennis elbow or sore knees from running or biking.

Sports massage has developed over the years to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, to function well during training, and/or recover after a big event. Emphasizing prevention and healing of injuries.

 

Sports Massage is wonderful for athletes, though you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from sports massage. It is also good for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion. Massage therapists generally concentrate on a specific problem area you have requested, most likely associated with sports activity of some kind, such as running, tennis, or golf.  The therapist generally focuses in on the problem area—a frozen shoulder or a pulled hamstring, for instance—rather than giving you a full-body massage.

The most important thing with sports massage is that you find a specially trained massage therapist. One who has mastery of a wide range of techniques and knows when to use them. Sometimes men who are new to massage are more comfortable getting a sports massage because it sounds more masculine. That’s fine, even if they don’t have an injury. No matter what type of massage you choose, the therapist should check in with you about what your needs and expectations are for the massage. Many spas used to put sports massage on their menu as a way to appeal to men. As spas have become more sophisticated, however, they realize they don’t list sports massage unless they have therapists with specialized training. If sports massage isn’t listed, an alternative is to explain your objective and ask for a therapist who can achieve that.

What Happens During A Sports Massage?

Sports massage therapists will use a variety of techniques to achieve the desired goal.

There are four types of sports massages:

  • Pre-event sports massage: a short, stimulating massage 15-45 minutes before the event. It is directed toward the parts of the body that will be involved in the exertion.
  • Post-event sports massage: given within an hour or two of the event, to normalize the body’s tissues.
  • Restorative sports massage: given during training to allow the athlete to train harder and with less injury.
  • Rehabilitative sports massage: aimed at alleviating pain due to injury and returning the body to health.

The therapist may use Swedish massage to stimulate circulation of blood and lymph fluids, and trigger point therapy to break down adhesions (knots in the muscles), and stretching to increase the range of motion. The therapist should also have a good foundation in hydrotherapy modalities including cryotherapy and thermotherapy, which can help with recovery, repair and healing processes. It may also be a good idea to see a movement therapist, who can help you identify and correct the movement pattern that might be causing your injury in the first place.

Sports massage can be an interesting career choice for therapists who want to do it full time. Professional sports teams often have massage therapists on staff to keep athletes’ bodies working at their very best. It helps to have a keen interest in anatomy and physiology, advanced training and experience in sports massage, an interest in sports, and a desire to work with athletes.

Book your Sports Massage with Zen Massage @ http://zenmassage.net/ 

 

How Would You Explain Kinesiology?

How Would You Explain Kinesiology?

Inspired by beautiful clients, bursting to share the benefits of Kinesiology, though they don’t always have the words to explain it!

A client recently told me, how she was trying to share her thoughts on the benefits of Kinesiology with a friend of hers, though she found it difficult to explain, sufficiently.

She said to me, “it’s not like I can say – I go to her & she does my taxes“!

Though, when you think about it, maybe they are comparable…

Everyone knows what it feels like to get your tax done, but – do you actually know how your tax is calculated? Probably not, right,  you simply take your income, investment and expenses to your tax agent. Then see your money/tax return appear in your bank account a little while later?

Going with that analogy: consider your body, emotions & energetic systems, similar to your income, expenses & investments. A kinesiologist job is to take an inventory of all your energetic & emotional expenses and income, detox the clutter stored within your body (ineffective investment habits) and then bring you back to alignment & balance (your money in the bank).

With all of that said, I’m sure this client of mine is not alone in struggling to explain how Kinesiology works.

How would you explain Kinesiology?

Another client has a beautifully simple & accurate way of explaining it. She say’s it’s “a massage & cleanse for the subconscious”.

If you’d like to borrow that explanation, go for it! Though if you want to come up with your own explanation, here are a few concepts you might like to play with:

kinesiologyEnergy

Essentially, Kinesiology is all energy healing, working on the truth that all is vibration and energy.

This is basic science that we all learned in high school, right down to the coding of our DNA. When everything is in perfect alignment, our energy is flowing harmoniously.

Blocks

Along life’s path, we accumulate stress through experience, outdated beliefs, trauma, not listening to our wisdom/intuition/what we know is right for us.

This creates blocks to the energy flow within our body. Kind of like road blocks creating traffic pileups along the freeway. These blocks are stored within our cellular memory (did you know that we have over a trillion cells in the body?), our subconscious memory & our energetic systems (e.g. meridians & chakras).

Balance

This is where the “massage & cleanse for the subconscious” comes into effect!

Essentially, during the balance, your kinesiologist works directly with the intelligence of your body (via muscle testing) to locate and clear your stress blocks. This clearing also stimulates your body’s natural healing ability – restoring you back to balance & health.

Comparable to your money/tax return in the bank, or similar to a clear freeway, opening up a path for you to reach your destination smoothly.

As you can see, Kinesiology isn’t such a simple thing to explain. However, hopefully, this post has made it a little more accessible!

Next time you’re bursting to share the benefits of Kinesiology and need a way to do it, share these ideas or; send your people to this post.

Better yet, take action now and forward this post to your friends or share on Facebook. Most importantly, enjoy the balance Kinesiology provides, and allow the wisdom of your body to come forward.

Health & Happiness

Book with Zen Massage Today, we combine our knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology, and range of motion, fusing traditional refinement with the advances of modern medicine. Best of all, the ZEN Massage technique feels amazing long after your appointment.

http://zenmassage.net/

(801) 467-3529

5520 S Van Winkle Expy

Salt Lake City, Utah

Stress Relief – Massage Therapy

Stress Relief – Massage Therapy

There are many reasons people might seek out massage therapy, but stress relief tends to be the most popular. In general, stress is anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being. Associated with both minor and major health ailments, relieving stress is an important component of maintaining emotional and physical well-being. Plenty of research has found that massage therapy is an ideal stress relief tool, but some massage techniques are better at achieving this goal than others.

Designed as a survival tool, stress activates the body’s fight-or-flight response. This occurs when the sympathetic nervous system responds to stress by producing large quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. These chemicals trigger a quicker heart rate, muscular tension, sweating and alertness to help protect us from danger – enabling people to react quickly to life-threatening situations.

Unfortunately, this fight-or-flight response can be triggered by non life-threatening events and it can become chronic. Over time, repeated activation of the stress response takes a toll on the body. Research suggests that prolonged stress contributes to:

  • high blood pressure
  • promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits
  • causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction
  • obesity
  • insulin dependence

Going above and beyond nature’s call to shield ourselves from danger, an estimated 75 percent of Americans experience significant levels of stress. According to the annual stress survey commissioned by the American Psychological Association:

  • About 25 percent of Americans are experiencing high levels of stress (rating their stress level as 8 or more on a 10-point scale).
  • About 50 percent of Americans report moderate levels of stress (a score of 4 to 7 out of 10).

Accordingly, there is a great need for effective stress relief methods. Many studies have demonstrated that massage therapy is an effective stress relieving modality as evidenced by reductions in cortisol, adrenaline, and nor-adrenaline. One example was recorded by Mayo Clinic researchers in a study published in a November 2012 edition of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Not surprisingly, weekly 15-minute chair massages for nurses during work hours significantly reduced stress-related symptoms.
With so many modalities utilized by massage therapists, those seeking help with their stress levels may have difficulty choosing from a menu of massage styles. To help determine what type of bodywork to pick, the top four massage modalities for stress relief are listed below:

  1. Swedish Massage – The most common type of massage, Swedish massage uses a variety of motions to decompress muscle tissue, release tension and break up muscular knots. The strokes used in Swedish massage are percussion, shaking, long strokes, vibration, kneading, and friction, which enhances blood circulation, stretches tendons, lowers blood pressure and induces relaxation. However, the long, smooth, gliding strokes are typically regarded as the most relaxing component of a Swedish massage.
  2. Head Massage – Bodywork focusing on the cranium is a known stress reliever. There are thin muscles on the scalp that can hold a great deal of tension. Besides including massage of the scalp within a Swedish massage session, the traditional Ayuverdic head oil massage known as champi is an especially relaxing treatment.
  3. Aromatherapy Massage – By adding essential oils to massage oil or lotion, aromatherapy massage can be a powerful way to de-stress. The nostrils are attached to the limbic system, an area of the brain that controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones. As such, inhalation of the essential oil molecules can directly influence physiological and emotional components of stress. The oils most known for their relaxation effect include geranium, lavender, and chamomile.
  4. Auricular Acupressure – Considered a microsystem for the entire body, the ear is compared to an inverted fetus; with the head on the lower ear lobe, the feet at the top of the ear, and the rest of the body in-between. Containing several hundred pressure points, massaging the ear in the area corresponding to the central nervous system encourages the release of endorphins – the body’s natural stress-relieving hormones.

Chronic stress is rampant and can be reduced with massage therapy. Unless under an immediate threat, the fight-or-flight stress response is not wanted – and ends up creating more problems than it solves. With such a high percentage of Americans burdened by significant stress levels, massage therapists should be in high demand. By offering Swedish massage, head massage, aromatherapy massage and auricular acupressure, bodyworkers will be highly effective at melting their clients’ stress away.

Why Deep-Tissue Massage?

Why Deep-Tissue Massage?

massage-389716_1920If you’ve never had a deep-tissue massage, you may be wondering why you would choose this particular type of therapy. It can be a little uncomfortable as opposed to other types of massages such as a Swedish massage, so what are the benefits?

During a deep-tissue massage, a therapist will concentrate on deeper layers of the muscle. By using firm pressure and deeper strokes, the therapist stimulates blood flow and reduces inflammation, creating a viable treatment option for a variety of ailments.

Reduces Pain

Perhaps the most common condition deep-tissue massage is sought to relieve is chronic pain. Because inflammation is the source of most pain, this type of treatment can prove very effective. Loosening tightened muscles that often accompany the pain also helps to alleviate tension and strain.

Alleviates Depression

Often depression accompanies chronic pain, and deep-tissue massage will stimulate release of hormones that will positively affect the brain. Although most any type of massage will help with symptoms of depression, deep-tissue massage is thought to be most effective.

Improves the Appearance of Scars

Over time, deep tissue massage can effectively break down scar tissue and cause it to disintegrate entirely. If the scar tissue is internal, a deep-tissue massage will help to loosen the tissue to improve stiffness and pain.

Speeds Recovery

Because it does aid in the breaking down of scar tissue, it’s a much-recommended therapy for patients after surgery. It also stimulates lymphatic production, further improving flexibility and eliminating toxins from the body, aiding in quick recovery and rehabilitation. For this reason, it’s a popular treatment among body builders to speed muscle recovery times and prevent injury.

Alleviates Repetitive Strain Injury

Painful conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome can be relieved or prevented altogether with consistent deep tissue massage.

In Conclusion

All types of massage will benefit your body in some way, but deep-tissue massage is most recommended for the conditions listed above. For questions about what type of massage is right for you, feel free to give us a call. We can custom tailor a treatment plan to fit your particular needs.

Massage Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

Massage Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

People often turn to massage therapy to relieve stress because they realize the effects of releasing muscle tension and taking time to pamper their bodies. But what they may not realize is that there are physiological reasons that massage relieves stress. And these are the same reasons that massage can decrease depression.

In 1996, a study was conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine to determine the effects of massage therapy on anxiety. In this study, a group of adults were given chair massages for 15 minutes, 2 times a week.

Tests performed on the subjects showed increased frontal delta waves, proving relaxation, and decreased alpha and beta waves, suggesting a decrease in anxious thoughts.

At the end of the study, which lasted 5 weeks, the group’s depression scores were much lower than they were at the beginning.

There are a couple of reasons massage therapy is useful in treating more than muscle tension.

A main factor in anxiety is cortisol. Cortisol is released for various reasons, but when your stress increases, so do your cortisol levels. And when your cortisol levels increase, so does your stress.

See why stress is such a vicious cycle?

Massage therapy is beneficial to getting you off the cycle by decreasing cortisol levels. Once the cortisol levels are down, your body starts to naturally become more relaxed.

The other thing massage does is encourage your body to release oxytocin and endorphins. Both of these natural “feel-good” chemicals lead your body into a relaxed state of euphoria.

It’s a little known fact that before all the drugs for depression were so freely distributed, massage therapy was a common treatment for the disorder. This generation seems to be catching on to the benefits of natural treatment and seeking ways to treat disorders with fewer drugs.

While you should never stop taking a prescription without the advice of a physician, massage therapy should be a treatment that you add to your regime in order to enhance your overall well-being.

Call us today to book your massage, and get yourself back on track to a healthier outlook on life!

 

 

Sleep Benefits of Massage Therapy

Sleep Benefits of Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy for InsomniaDo you have trouble falling and staying asleep? Do you find yourself staring at the clock half the night and wondering what it would be like to catch a solid 8 hours of z’s?

If so, you’re not alone. One out of every ten people on this planet reportedly take prescription sleep aids to combat their sleep problems.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that lack of sleep causes increased anxiety and moodiness, but did you also know that it can affect your health?

When our bodies are deprived of the rest they need, hormones become unbalanced and blood pressure increases causing possible health problems such as cardiovascular issues and diabetes. These issues themselves, ironically, also lead to sleep problems.

It’s a vicious cycle!

Pinpointing the cause could be helpful in controlling the problem, but there is one natural solution that could very possibly help you to sleep no matter what the reason.

Massage therapy.

Getting regular massages can help with most issues causing you unrest.

For Insomnia Caused by Chronic Pain

If pain is what is keeping you up all hours, massage therapy could definitely be your solution. Most chronic pain is either muscle or nerve related, and massage therapy helps to alleviate both. Regular massages will help to relax your muscles, thereby helping your body achieve a natural alignment, reducing most nerve pain.

For Insomnia Caused by Stress

Massage causes your body to release serotonin to the brain which is a natural anti-depressant. This combined with the relaxation factor of the massage, puts your body and mind into a more natural state of euphoria, lowering stress levels significantly.

For Insomnia Caused by Hormone Imbalance

Hormones are tricky. Any area of unbalance in the body can cause fluctuations that can cause weight gain, hair loss, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and a whole host of other affliction. Massage therapy is shown to aid the body in releasing certain hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, triggering emotions in the brain that cause a more relaxed environment for the entire body. Relieving stress alone can stabilize many hormone deficiencies.

Don’t let another sleepless night plague your health and your emotions. Book a massage today and let us help you to achieve a more natural state of relaxation!