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!

  

CranioSacral Massage

“CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle approach that can dramatically improve your life. It can releases tension deep in your body to reduce pain, minimize dysfunction, decrease stress and improve your whole-body health and performance.

 

The central nervous system has a large influence over your health, and the craniosacral system (the soft tissues and fluid that protect your brain and spinal cord.) has a huge impact on your central nervous system.

 

Every day you encounter stress and strains and your body absorbs it all in one form or another. But your body can only handle so much before the tissues begin to tighten and potentially affect the brain and spinal cord.

 

CranioSacral Therapy aims to release those tensions to allow your body to relax and settle back into balance. Using a gentle touch – the therapist follows the subtle rhythm of the craniosacral system as it radiates outward and throughout the body. Looking for imbalances and focusing on those areas.

 

How is a CST session different than a Swedish massage?

  • you can stay clothed, wearing loose fitting, comfortable clothing

  • there is no oil or lotion used

  • the approach is a light-touch at various stations of the body, there are no massage strokes of the soft tissue

 

CranioSacral Therapy is safe and effective for all ages and levels of health.

 

Conditions CST can address:

ADD/ADHD

Allergies

Blood Pressure - normalize

Brain & Spinal Cord Injuries

Central Nervous System Disorders

Cerebral Congestion – decreased

Cerebral Palsy

Chronic Pain

Concentration

Digestion

Edema

Epilepsy & Seizures

Fever

Fibromyalgia

Headaches & Migraines

Hearing – Tinnitus & Infections

Herniated Discs

Immune Deficiencies

Irritable Bowels

Learning Disabilities

Liver

Low Back Pain

Lungs

Menstruation / Cramps

Motor-Coordination Impairments

Neck Pain

Orthopedic Disorders

Personality Changes & Disorders

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Promote Lymph Drainage

Prostate

Pulmonary Congestion – decreased

Reproductive Problems

Scoliosis

Short Term Memory

Sinus Problems

Smell – sense of

Sleep

Spinal Fusions
Stress & Tension-Related Disorders

Swallowing

Talking / Speech

TIA’s

TMJ Dysfunction

Vision

Vitality - increased

 

 

And Many More….

                     by Nookster Kelly

What to Expect at Your First Acupuncture Treatment

       So...you've finally decided to do it.  You're ready!  You've committed to the decision.  You're going to finally take a stab at Acupuncture!!  Pun very much intended.  But now what?  You don't know what to expect when you get there.  Is it like a doctors visit, or more like a trip to the spa?  Are you going to have to get undressed?  Do the needles hurt?  What if the Acupuncturist explains things, and you don't understand it AT ALL??  Don't panic!!  I've got you covered.  I'm going to answer all of the questions above, and perhaps a few others. Here we go!!

 Get it?? Take a  STAB ??? Am I the only  one with a terrible sense of humor???

 Get it?? Take a STAB??? Am I the only  one with a terrible sense of humor???

 Is it like a doctors visit, or more like a trip to the spa?       

More often than not, an Acupuncture treatment is more clinical than spa-like.  That isn't to say that it cannot be spa-like, but it usually isn't.  Most people receiving Acupuncture are there for a specific purpose (pain relief, infertility, facial rejuvenation, etc.), and not so much for "general wellness".  However, Acupuncture can, and should, be used for general wellness, much in the same way that people get a monthly (or biweekly, or even weekly) massage to keep their body healthy.   

       I feel, as an add on to that paragraph, I should mention that; if you are going to see an Acupuncturist for a specific condition, it is a good idea to discuss the issue with the Acupuncturist ahead of time, especially since some Acupuncturists have specialties.  This way you can make sure that the Acupuncturist is fluent with, and comfortable treating, your main complaint...and, more importantly, that you are comfortable with them. 

Are you going to have to get undressed?       

       To some degree, yes.  Acupuncture points are all over the body, literally from head to toe, and clothing can get in the way.  Again, don't panic!  At no point will you be exposed in an inappropriate manner.  You will always be covered, be it with a sheet, blanket, towel, or gown/robe. 

Do the needles hurt?

       The needles should never hurt. Acupuncture needles are very thin, sterile, one-time use, and disposable.  Being very thin, and not hollow, they are less uncomfortable than injection needles. That does not mean you will not feel sensation.  You will, most likely, feel the needles being inserted and removed, and sometimes you will feel them being stimulated by the Acupuncturist.  I know everyone paused at the word "stimulated".  I'll elaborate.  Sometimes an Acupuncturist will spin, rotate, or twirl the needles to get a stronger reaction from the needle and the location.  The stimulation of the needle can cause the muscles to twinge, some people say they feel a "zing" or "electricity", and some report a "heaviness" or a "mild ache".    

It doesn't really hurt, you say? Onward then with the pokey-pokey, stabby-stabby!!!

It doesn't really hurt, you say? Onward then with the pokey-pokey, stabby-stabby!!!

        What if the Acupuncturist explains things, and you don't understand it AT ALL??

       This is totally normal and expected.  Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine haven't had the easiest time being translated.  So, not only is there a language barrier to the practice, now there is a medical barrier as well.  If, at any point, you do not understand what your Acupuncturist is telling you, do not hesitate to stop them and ask for clarification.  Remember, this is YOUR treatment, and they are going to be working on YOUR body.  If you want a better explanation of the treatment you have every right to speak up.

Is there anything else you should know?

       Of course there is....but where to begin?  Firstly, it's always good to check and make sure your Acupuncturist is licensed.  Secondly, try to come to your appointment with an open mind.  Obviously, it's already quite open if you're willing to try Acupuncture, but it is a foreign medicine, and it can be difficult to translate how it works.  Every Acupuncturist has a different style and technique, so treatment style can vary from practitioner to practitioner.  

       Lastly, you may find that the questions and diagnostics are rather different from your average doctor visit.  You may get asked questions that do not appear to correlate with your main complaint, but an Acupuncturist is taught that all of the body is connected.  So, what may seem an unimportant question to you, may actually be THE key answer for the Acupuncturist.  Try to be as honest as possible when you answer, even if the questions seem odd and you feel a bit awkward.  Your Acupuncturist will also feel your pulse, on both wrists.  We're checking for the strength, quality, and rhythm (much like in a regular doctors office), but we can also tell how well the blood is flowing through the organs when we feel your pulses, which is why it takes a bit longer (did I just blow your mind with that one?).  The strangest though, will be when your Acupuncturist asks to see your tongue...yes, I'm serious.  The tongue is also a diagnostic tool.  While there are other things the tongue can tell us, the biggest thing is that it is a window into how well your digestive system is functioning (if the pulse didn't blow your mind, I'm sure this one did). 

       Hopefully, after reading this, you feel prepared and less anxious about your first upcoming visit to the Acupuncturist.  Don't feel intimidated by the needles, do your best to relax, and do not hesitate to ask questions.  Your treatment is just that...yours.

  • If you're interested in booking an Acupuncture appointment:
Melanie Murphy L.M.T., L.Ac., MS