Your Moon Cycle...Women's Health

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Since, well forever, our moon cycle is a time for our body to heal and reset. And though it would be more than ideal if we could take a few days off from life and let our bodies do their thing, life tends to get in the way.

But this shouldn't stop us from giving ourselves a little extra TLC this time of the month. Giving ourselves proper healing attention at this time can help us stay healthy and balanced throughout the month.

Eating right, such as iron rich foods, staying hydrated and cutting back on the caffeine are some dietary ways you can help during this time.

Menstrual and yin yoga practices can be very beneficial. Yoga is great for calming the mind and relaxing as well as the gentle stretching helps in lengthening the muscles alleviating back tension and pain.

Essential oils are also great tools for holistic health. And of course there are some amazing options for women when our ruby slippers arrive.

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Lavender: an oil we should just always have on hand for it’s seemingly endless list of benefits. These everyday benefits are just as useful on these days. From its stress relieving and deep relaxation effects, the assist in hormone balance and of course pain relief.

Fennel: a great oil for women in a few ways, here its pain relief benefits really shine through

Clary Sage: helps with the balance and production of menstrual hormones like estrogen. It has also shown to assist in stress relief

Rose: great for balancing hormones and even alleviating symptoms of fatigue.

Heat is a great way to melt mental and physical tension away. Use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or even better, take a hot bath and add a few drops of the above essential oils to really maximize your healing time!

And lastly, maybe one of the best things you could do is get a massage. Massage therapy can reduce swelling and muscle tension alleviating lower back pain and cramping. Massage helps your body in it’s own natural healing processes; with things like hormone balance, increased circulation, and increasing relaxation.

So next time the moon is in your orbit, take time to heal and help yourself. And book a Moon Cycle Massage with The Wellness Nook!

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Seasonal Sinus Struggles?

Spring is here! Bringing us warmer weather, longer days, and beautiful flowers. And, as wonderful as all that sounds and is, those beautiful blooms bring less then appealing pollen. So, while some people are freeing themselves from their winter burrows, the rest of us are starting to dig in a bit deeper.

Sneezing, coughing, runny nose and eyes you sometimes want to claw out, are just some of the fun gifts spring has to offer. And some of us know all to well that this isn't always the worst of it.

Inflamed sinuses and airways, coupled with increase in mucous production, decreases the quality of each breath. This smothering irritation leads to more inconstant symptoms, like headaches and dizziness. Difficulty breathing decreases our sleep quality leaving us fatigued, drained and unable to function at our fullest.

Some of us take over the counter meds or even prescriptions to keep these symptoms at bay. But there are other things we can also do to help(always with the approval/supervision of our own doctors).

Daily consumption of local honey has show overtime can alleviate the  irritation from our friendly flowers.

Decreasing or cutting out completely all dairy products around the seasonal change. Dairy can increase mucus production  and inflammation exacerbating allergy symptoms.

Using essential oils. Applying oils like lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint or  sinus blends can also help alleviate symptoms.

Massage, either self massage of your sinus area or come in for facial cupping or cold stones on the face to decrease inflammation and pressure.  

Salt therapy or halo therapy can decrease inflammation and the production of mucus, deepening and smoothing out the breath, leading to the release of most seasonal allergy symptoms. 

Try something out and see what works best for you, so we can all enjoy the warmer weather!

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Spring Cleaning...Detox your Body

April is the perfect time for spring cleaning, not just for your home but you body!


All day long we expose our body to things we shouldn't eat, shouldn't breathe and, I am always guilty of, laziness we just don't need. So, with stagnant bodies and and toxins building it's time we clean house, from head to toe. 


Detoxing your body with diet, exercise and body work has countless benefits. 


Cleaning up your eating, and even taking a few days of juicing (check out our Instagram or Facebook to see updates on Laura's and Danielle's cleanse) is a great way to start cleaning out your internal closets. This can help flush out your gastrointestinal or GI tract allowing this tissue in your body to reset and heal. Sometimes even curing digestion issues you may suffer with. Clearing out the colon also has remarkable impact on our skin. Which is why often just cleaning up your eating can start clearing up your skin. Anything from rashes to acne to sensitivities to bumpy or prickliness. 


Another great tool for cleaning up is movement or exercise. One of our main body systems for detox is out lymphatic system. But unlike our cardiovascular system there is no automatic pump (heart in CV) to keep the fluid moving. And this is where our muscles are super helpful. Every time we contract the muscle in our arms, legs and torso we act like a pump moving the fluid through the lymphatic system so toxins throughout our body can get flushed out. Even simply deep belly breath or yoga breath help this flow and helps us detoxify ourselves. 


For the trifecta of detox add body work. This can be by coming to The Wellness Nook for one of our many detoxifying treatments or doing body work on yourself at home. Two great things I do when spring cleaning comes along is abdominal massage and dry brushing. By massaging your abdomen in a clockwise motion you stimulate the smooth muscle in your colon. This helps aid your GI track in expelling out everything you don't need. Body brushing or dry brushing does so many wonderful things for your skin. It exfoliates, removing unnecessary dead skin cells, stimulates sebaceous glands allowing natural hydration of your skin and promotes collagen production. But on top of all of that it also stimulates your lymphatic system which as we mentioned earlier is key for detox. 

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Sucking Face to Look Younger? Oh, facial cupping....huh?

I'm sure you've heard the term 'facial cupping', but what is it and how can it help you? It is a safe, non-invasive, holistic, anti-aging, treatment using the negative pressure (suction) created from small cups. Cupping theoretically relaxes tight muscles, increases circulation and drains toxins. Now, apply that theory to the care of your face, neck and chest! 

 

Loosen areas of restricted connective tissue and relax the muscles in order to help alleviate symptoms of TMJ dysfunction and chronic headaches/migraines.

 

Increase blood flow and lymph circulation, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface of your skin, leaving you with a healthy glow. 

 

Help reduce the appearance of fine lines and facial creases created from our facial expressions.

 

Open up and drain the pathways to avoid sinus infections and congestion.

 

Leave your appointment feeling more relaxed and clear-minded.

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Do You have the Nerve to Get Massage? Part 2 Nerve Compression

As discussed in our last post the human body has over 90 billion nerve cells making up over 200 nerves within the body. Other than over all benefits massage has to our nervous system there are more direct benefits to each nerve.

The nerves in our body create movement and allow us to have sensation.  A string of neurons(nerve cells) create a chain of synapses which are our nerve. Sending and receiving messages from all over the body. In order to preform at their best they need a clear and clean pathway; otherwise, signals can be lost or the nerves can be over stimulated and fire sending pain signals in the body, you can also feel numbness or constant "pins and needle" sensation. This is cause by some sort of compression on the nerve.

Compressed nerves can be due to a few reasons and can be compressed in more than one location(known as multiple crush syndrome). The two common causes for nerve compression are structural or soft tissue. It is limited what massage can do for the later ( will explain after) but for the former massage is sometimes the best course of treatment.

When soft tissue is compressing on a nerve, it is usually a muscle that is so tight it pinches the nerve, or there is excessive adhesion or scar tissue by a nerve. In both cases massage can help. When your muscles ate to tight; for example with thoracic outlet syndrome, when the nerves that run under the scalenes (in your neck) and pectoral muscles get pinched by you tight chest and neck muscles, causing pain and numbness down the arm and in the fingers, deep massage therapy can release the muscle and assist it to relax and lengthen; reducing the pressure on the nerves. This allows the nerve to have a clear path for it's signal as well as get the proper vascular circulation to keep the nerve healthy.  Massage therapy is also able to aid in the break up of scar tissue to alive that pressure on the nerves as well.

And with the later, structural impingement, commonly caused by spinal disk issue or poor structural alignment, by releasing uneven tight muscles in the body with massage you maybe brought back to a more ideal alignment reducing the structural tension on the nerves.

 

Do You have the Nerve to Get a Massage? Massage therapy benefits for the Nervous System. part 1

Do you have the nerve to get Massage? Or over 200 nerves?! The human body has over 200 nerves and anywhere from 90 to 100 billion neurons (nerve cells). All firing to create movement, thought and sensations; sensations like pain, comforts, stress, fear, anxiety, relaxation, peace.... it goes on.

There are a few ways this system gets divided up but we are going to focus on the sympathetic, fight or flight, and the parasympathetic, the rest and digest.  Activation of our sympathetic nervous system is natural, however when at inappropriate times can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Massage therapy activated the parasympathetic nervous system in the body, thereby reducing anxiety and decreasing stress. Making us feel at ease and allowing our body to relax.

During massage beta waves, which are present while you brain is in an active alert phase, are reduced and alpha waves, which are present while the brain is conscious and relaxed, are increased. Delta waves, which are present during sleep are also increase during massage. These effects allow for you mind to rest and your entire body to feel at ease.

Massage benefits can go even farther with helping in nerve pain and impingement and overall neural function!

Healthy Connection: How Massage Benefits Connective Tissue!

From stabilizing bone connections, compartmentalizing muscles fibers and nerves, to healing broken tissue and scar production, connective tissue is what keeps us connected; and healthy connective tissue is what keeps us feeling and looking great!

Massage therapy increases circulation thru out the body. This directly effects and benefits our connective tissue. Some of out connective tissue is less vascular, has fewer veins and arteries, there for proper circulation is even more important to keep nutrients in and take waist out.  This helps with keeping the tissue healthy and in helping it heal faster and better.

When healing broken tissue like skin or muscles the body produces scars. The application of massage to these areas not only increase healing with circulation it also prevents keliod scaring. Deep massage therapy also prevents overproduction of scaring which could effect the muscles ability to work.

For body builders or athlete in all massage therapy is quiet helpful in muscle growth. The connective tissue wrapping around the muscles can be to stiff and even restrict the growth of the muscle. Regular massage therapy can keep this wrapping elastic and pliable so the muscle fibers can be unrestricted.

Tight connective tissue is also to blame for dimpling skin, known as cellulite.  Connective fibers that attach the skin to deeper layers can get unevenly tense, pinching adipose causing an uneven dimpling. Massage can loosen these fibers to cause a more even tension and smooth out the "lumpy" skin.

 

How Hot Stones Can Melt Away Your Aches and Pains.

While all massages have these great benefits the application of the stones intensifies and deepens these amazing effects.

Applying any sort of heat helps you, the clients, relax and us, the practitioners, get just that extra pliability from your tissues. So, heated tables, hot pack all of these are great additions. But my personal favorite is the use of hot stones. Unlike the other options, where you have stationary heat places to a general problem area, with hot stones we are able to massage the tension out with the heat. Using the stone as an extension of our hand, allows us to release deeper tissue tension; getting a deeper relaxation, with our with out the use of deeper pressure. Making this a great modality for everyone.

Massaging the body with heat has more benefits then just muscle relaxation though. Like in any massage the warming of the skin dilates bloods vessels increasing circulation. While using a warmed tool this benefit is intensified.

And your overall metal relaxation. Cold stimulates and excites us where warm calm and soothes. Warm touch will help calm the mind and allow you to enter an even more profound state of relaxation. 

So, melt into a massage table today.

Getting Sucked into the Cupping Craze

       Whether you've been paying attention or not, photos have been popping up showing Olympic Athletes covered in round, red marks.  Then, of course, the social medias were all a-twitter (and a-facebook, and a-google+...), wondering just what that was all about.  Conversely, any and (almost) all alternative therapists became VERY excited.  They said to themselves, and probably out loud, "This is my time to shine!!" And they would be correct.  The marks on the athletes are from a technique called "Cupping".  And I, like my fellow Massage Therapists and Acupuncturists, am going to jump on the "Let me tell you about cupping!!" bandwagon.

OMG! It looks like Michael Phelps got hugged by a giant octopus!!!

OMG! It looks like Michael Phelps got hugged by a giant octopus!!!

       So...Let me tell you about cupping!!

       Cupping is when glass or plastic (sometimes bamboo) suction cups are placed on the skin to create suction.  This suction helps to mobilize blood flow, in that area, to promote healing.  This can be done through, either, Fire Cupping, in which a flammable substance (like an alcohol pad) is used to create a vacuum in the cup that creates the suction on the skin, or using a hand-held pump to create suction in the cup.  Cupping can also be done in a static form, which is what the Athletes at the Olympics had done.  This is when the cups are put on the skin, and left alone for 10-20 minutes.  The other is sliding cupping, in which the cups glide across the skin.  This is more of a massage technique, and has a similar effect on the tissue to myofascial release, as well as lymphatic drainage.

A vacuum sucking skin? Am I doing it right?           (no...he isn't doing it right)

A vacuum sucking skin? Am I doing it right?

         (no...he isn't doing it right)

       Despite the current trendiness, cupping has been around for thousands of years.  It's earliest known practice dates as far back as 3000 BCE in Egypt.  It also has roots in ancient China and ancient Greece.

       The range of benefits of cupping are vast.  The majority of it's use is in musculoskeletal issues (as demonstrated by the Athletes in the Olympics), but it can also be used to treat arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, anxiety, congestion, and varicose veins.  The bruising is the most common side effect of cupping, there is sometimes a mild discomfort or a burning like sensation that can accompany it as well.

This is cupping being done correctly.  It doesn't look impressive, but it has to be felt to be understood.

This is cupping being done correctly.  It doesn't look impressive, but it has to be felt to be understood.

       As always, if there are any questions or concerns before deciding to book an appointment, it is always best to call before-hand.  Your therapist should be able to answer any questions you have, and quell all of your concerns.  That being said...let the cupping commence!  If it's good enough for the Olympians (both modern and ancient), then it's absolutely good enough for you too.

The Essence Of Relaxation: essential oils for relaxation!

Everyday, especially in New York, we stress, worry, give ourselves anxiety, just over all wind ourselves up. We NEED to relax. So we get massages, and that is all well and good but you tragically can't be in a massage all day every day! We practice yoga, fine and dandy but you try doing down dog while crawling down the LIE when your already 10 minutes late for a meeting! And even though breathing right helps, sometimes it is just not cutting it. So, maybe we need to breath in the essence of relaxation. Here are some of the best essential oils for stress relief and relaxation. 

Well ,of course in any thing about relaxing oils, the number one has always been and remains lavender oil.  And honestly for good reason. This super oil not only is great for relaxation, helps improve sleep and reduce stress. It has other fantastic uses as well, like relieving migraines, reducing itchiness of bug bites, improve sinus function, and even good for mild burns...

Another lovely flower, rose is also great for anxiety. Shown to even help with panic attacks and depression. 

Another family favorite, chamomile. We love it in tea and love to breath it as well. Reducing anxiousness , stress and worry. 

Ylang ylang, not just cheerful to say but to smell. The use of this oil has shown to encourage optimism and make you over all cheerful. 

Though not going to relax you to sleep, Grapefruit is great for combating depression and the dreadful six letter word....stress. And when you are rid of that you are more relaxed.

With all of these oil you can simply put a few drops on a tissue and tuck it in your bra, or put a drop behind the ears, or just some on you hands and cup them over you face and breath in sweet serenity. Oils are great for adding to your already relaxing massages or yoga session but an ideal way of staying unwound everywhere. Enjoy my friends!