Blending massage therapy and fitness can be a wonderful way to take your wellness to a whole new level. After all, massage and fitness both aim to increase health, but they tackle the issue from different angles. Therefore, massage and fitness can complement one another and serve to further well-being by working together.
Before you can fully understand the harmony between massage therapy and fitness, it may help to look at each one individually and focus on the ways in which massage and fitness approach better health from different angles. Let’s begin with fitness, which is a word that can encompass so many concepts, from lifting weights and running miles to the ability to carry heavy items and move with grace and ease.
Fitness approaches the achievement of better overall health from an action-oriented angle. In other words, if you wish to boost your well-being through fitness, then you typically will need to get active in order to do so. For example, you may wish to improve your health by reducing the amount of fat around your waist. In this very common scenario, fitness might mean a combination of cardio sessions and a slight reduction in daily caloric intake.
Another example of the action-based nature of fitness might be the person who wants to have stronger muscles and bones. In this case, fitness might take the form of weight-bearing exercises, as well as a slight increase in one’s daily intake of calories, especially protein. Of course, these are only examples, and it is important to remember that fitness takes on a variety of forms, depending on the individual and his or her goals, as well as his or her biological variables.
As we turn our focus toward massage and begin to look at the ways in which massage aims to create better health, we will see that, unlike fitness, massage is a more passive path to wellness. This should not be too difficult to understand, as most massage sessions take place with the client relaxing on a massage table while the massage therapist performs techniques designed to help meet the client’s needs.
One example might be the client who comes in with aching muscles due to the active fitness regime she has undertaken in an effort to lose weight and improve her health. With massage, this person will be able to rest and relax while the massage therapist uses healthy touch to help relieve and heal those muscular aches and pains.
Here, you can really see the complementary nature of massage and fitness at work, for the massage session should help the client get back to—and stick with—her fitness regime, as the massage promotes muscle recovery between fitness sessions.
Another important point to remember is that both massage and fitness can contribute not only to physically better health, but also to greater mental and emotional well-being. Many times, people will feel less stressed and have more mental clarity following a fitness session, and massage can have similar effects as well.
Need a massage in less than five minutes? Ok, how about four? Always keeping our time constraints in mind, Massage.com’s Shaun Benzies offers relaxation technique exercises perfect for that office self-face massage.
Relax! “Forget the oil. All you need is your own touch and to monitor your breathing. Every self-massage technique should start with a few deep breathes. Breathe in through your nose, hold and then exhale through your mouth,” Benzies states.
Warm Up: Rub your hands together and have the friction generate some heat. Place the palms of your hands on your face, fingers up. Feel the warmth from your hands as you take a few more deep breathes. Move your fingers up to the middle of your forehead so they interlock in the center. Slowly trace each hand down your jaw line to meet in the middle of your chin. Repeat two to three times,” Benzies adds.
Jaw Tension:“An amazing amount of tension builds up within the jaw during a work day, so to relieve this tension, start by slacking your jaw, letting the bottom jaw hang loose. Perform small circles using your index and middle fingers, starting at the joint and working towards your chin. Repeat a few times. Hold your lower jaw in both hands (palms under your chin, fingers at the joint) and pull slightly forward to reduce the pressure on the joint. Hold for 30 seconds,” Benzies suggests.
Sinus Pressure:“Air-conditioned offices often cause a person to feel ‘stuffed up’, so relieving sinus pressure should be part of any self-facial massage. Place both index fingers above the bridge of your nose and one thumb on each side of your nostrils. Perform short strokes with your thumbs along your cheek bones away from your nose to relieve any sinus pressure.”
Between the Eyes & Temples:“Massaging the area right between the eyes is thought to affect the body’s natural circadian rhythms (sleep cycle), so pinch this area for about 30 seconds with mild pressure, breathing deeply throughout. Do the same thing for your temples. Apply minimal pressure and simply hold these points. You will quickly feel why pressure applied here is often used to treat headaches.”
What is it?
This component of numerous meditation traditions slows the walking process with the intention of bringing into awareness its most basic parts—lifting the foot, swinging it, placing it down—in order to bring a greater consciousness to daily life. When we break down the motion of walking, we realize how each action is a collection of sub-actions, and how the mind and body work together to create movement. “This is not walking for transportation, it’s walking as a tool for developing mindfulness in the present moment,” says John LeMunyon, L.M.T., co-owner of Heartwood Yoga in Birmingham, Ala., and a meditator for 30-plus years. You can practice walking meditation by itself, or combine it with one of the seated styles on the preceding pages. Used as an interlude, the walking technique is a good way to embody the insights gained during seated practice and to heighten their relevance in your daily life. Walking meditation shows clearly the Buddhist precept that “all action is preceded by intention,” says LeMunyon. “There’s always an intention; and when we are present to the moment, there is always a choice. It’s at the level of intention that we make our choices of how skillfully we want to live our lives.”
What’s it good for? When you find yourself feeling restless or agitated, a physical practice like walking is a great way to quiet your mind and find grounding in your body. It can also help ease your transition from sitting meditation to the motion of “real life,” and vice versa.
How long does it take? To begin, try walking for about 15 steps in two directions, about five minutes total. Or try interspersing this with five minutes of seated meditation.
How do I do it? 1. Find a private indoor or outdoor place with level ground and at least 20 feet of space to move. 2. Stand in a relaxed position with your feet parallel, shoulders loose, arms draped at your sides or clasped lightly in front of or behind you. Focus your eyes softly on the ground about 6 to 8 feet ahead (looking right at your feet can be distracting). 3. Breathe in as you lift your right heel. Pause and breathe out, leaving your toes resting on the ground. 4. Breathe in again as you slowly swing your right foot forward. Place the heel of your right foot on the ground as you exhale and roll the rest of the foot down, transferring your weight so it’s balanced between both feet. Pause for a full breath. 5. Repeat the entire sequence with your left foot, again matching each movement with an inhalation or exhalation, alternating for 15 steps. The goal is to keep your mind fully focused on your bodily sensations; it may help to think or softly say, “Lift, pause, swing, place, transfer, pause,” as you perform these movements. 6. When you’ve completed your paces in one direction, come to a stop with your feet parallel and pause for a few breaths. Then turn slowly, using the same movement pattern and matching each movement with an inhalation or exhalation. Pause again, facing the path you just walked. End by retracing your steps back to where you started.
Filed under: Aveda Product — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 7:54 am
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Filed under: massage — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 8:03 am
Ayurvedic oil massage helps strengthen and balance your whole body, improves circulation and vitality, and rejuvenates your skin.
This massage uses sesame oil, and it is recommended as part of any daily routine because it rejuvenates and revitalizes the physiology.
It produces a youthful influence for the skin and helps to balance.
1. Start with cold-pressed sesame oil, available from your health food store. Ideally, the oil should be “cured” before using (by heating slowly to the boiling temperature of water, 212 degrees F, and cooling). The oil should be warmed each time you use it.
2. Use the open part of your hand (rather than your fingertips) to massage your entire body. In general, use circular motions over rounded areas (joints, head) and straight strokes over straight areas (neck, long bones). Apply moderate pressure over most of your body and light pressure over your abdomen and heart.
3. Start with your head. Pour a small amount of oil on your hands and vigorously massage it into your scalp. With the flat part of your hands, use circular strokes to cover your whole head. Spend more time massaging your head than other parts of your body.
4. Next, massage your face and outer ears, remembering to apply a small amount of oil as you move from one part of your body to the next. Massage this area more gently.
5. Massage the front and back of your neck and the upper part of your spine. At this point you may want to cover the rest of your body with a thin layer of oil to give maximum time for the oil to soak in.
6. Vigorously massage your arms, using a circular motion on your shoulders and elbows and long, back-and-forth strokes on your upper arms and forearms.
7. Now massage your chest and stomach. Use a very gentle, circular motion over your heart and abdomen. You can start in the lower right part of your abdomen and move clockwise, ending up at the lower left part. This gently massages your intestines.
8. Massage your back and spine. You may have trouble reaching your entire back.
9. Massage your legs, vigorously, making circular motions over your hips, knees, and ankles. Use long, straight strokes over your thighs and calves.
10. Finally, massage the bottoms of your feet. As with your head, this important area of your body deserves more time. Use the palm of your hand to massage your soles vigorously.
11. Follow your oil massage with a warm bath or shower, using a mild soap.
Filed under: massage — Rizzieri School of Massage @ 7:44 am
At Park Avenue Nutrition, Lisa Cohn deals with massages head on with these must-have tips. From painful facial muscles to tense shoulders, these easy-to-do tips are beauty cheat sheet-approved.
Massage Those Temples “Massage your temples as this helps blood flow to your head, then take your hands and massage your face gently as this relaxes your facial muscles,” Cohn says.
De-Stressing Shoulders “For your head and neck, move head forward and back, and side to side. For shoulders, do shoulder shrugs, bringing up shoulders to your ears and then down. Inhale while raising shoulders upward and exhale while relaxing them down. Rotate them backward and forward, and also make big circles with arms open,” Cohn adds.
Stretch Your Back “To stretch entire back, relax your head, neck and shoulders. Sitting in a stable chair, position feet and knees wide apart while sitting up straight, stretch torso out over thighs and simply drop arms and hands between legs and release head and neck down, resting hands on tops of feet,” Cohn concludes.
Mantra Meditation What is it? Mantra meditation utilizes the power of sound and vibration to create stillness in the body, calm the nervous system and ultimately transform the mind. The words typically come from ancient spiritual languages, such as Sanskrit or Gurumukhi. The sacred meanings of the words enable you to establish a connection to profound truths that have been spoken for thousands of years, explains Krishna Kaur, a kundalini yoga teacher since 1970 and founding member of the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers (blackyogateachers.com).
What’s it good for? Because each mantra differs in its meaning and vibrations produced, you can select mantras to create specific effects— such as increasing mental clarity, developing intuition, or reducing anger and stress. Kaur suggests starting with the simple mantra sat nam because it’s easy to say and remember, yet offers profound effects. Sat translates as “truth,” and nam as “identity.” This mantra helps you identify with a universal spiritual truth in which such transient emotional states as fear, anger and doubt fall away.
How long does it take? Start with three to five minutes, increasing by a minute at a time until you can sit and chant for a full 11 minutes.
How do I do it? 1. Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor with your spine straight to help your breath and the sound it creates flow smoothly. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath for a moment to get centered. 2. Take a long, deep inhalation through your nose. As you exhale, utter an extended sat (pronounced “sut”) to almost the end of your breath, followed by a short burst of nam (“nom”). Together, the mantra will sound like “saaaaaaaaaaat nam.” 3. Inhale slowly and evenly, then repeat the mantra as you exhale. Continue this pattern. 4. At the end of your session, inhale and hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale through your nose. Do this three times, then sit quietly for a moment and feel the energy flow through your body. Open your eyes, stand slowly and carry your sense of calm and clarity with you.
What is it?
While many meditation techniques require solitude and silence, this one has you engage with sounds all around you; it invites you to work with the noise instead of fighting it. The intent is to experience sound as vibration, rather than information. “The listening practice is a way of interacting with the environment that allows you to take in the whole energy of the present moment,” says Sally Kempton, a spiritual guide who teaches yoga and meditation at her Carmel, Calif.- based Awakened Heart Meditation (sallykempton.com).
What’s it good for? Especially adaptable and portable, listening meditation can be practiced in crowded, noisy situations—on a bus, at the office—that would hinder other styles. (Kempton once led a listening meditation workshop in the middle of a busy Whole Foods store!) People with particularly chattering minds may need to couple this practice with a mantra or breathing meditation. However, many people welcome the chance to focus outward rather than inward and find that listening meditation is one of the easier techniques to undertake. “You’ll come away from it feeling refreshed, expanded and at ease with your environment,” declares Kempton.
How long does it take? Try for five minutes at first, then continue adding a minute or two until you can do it for 15 or 20 minutes at a time.
How do I do it? 1. Sit in a comfortable position and close (or half close) your eyes. 2. To get centered and quiet, first go to your breath, noticing but not trying to change it. 3. Now “open” your ears and bring your awareness to the sounds around you. The goal is to listen to the whole range of sounds, without favoring one and without identifying them. Hear the quiet sounds and the silences as well as the dominant sounds. 4. When you find yourself identifying sounds (“there’s a fire engine”; “that’s my neighbor’s TV”), gently redirect your attention from listening to a specific noise back to hearing the whole spectrum of sounds. 5. To end, slowly open your eyes, stand and carry this awareness with you for as long as you can.