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Relaxation Exercise-The Benefits of Breathwork

breathwork

breathwork

Do you ever find yourself unconsciously holding your breath when you’re tense? This can cause tension to build in your body and may let the chest collapse, leading to misalignment. Proper breathing provides oxygen to the muscles and body, helps you stay relaxed and centered, and even helps you maintain correct body alignment throughout your day. You can also use breathwork as part of a stress-reduction program by following this progressive relaxation exercise.

1. Begin by lying in a comfortable position without crossing your arms or legs, and focus on your breathing to create a slow, deep pattern. Inhale through your nose while counting to 10 and expanding your abdomen. Hold the breath for one second, and exhale through your nose on the count of 10. Inhale and exhale in this pattern five times.

2. Beginning with your head, tense your facial muscles as tightly as possible and count to five. Release the muscles completely, and sense the muscles feeling heavy and still. Work down your entire body, tensing muscle groups and then relaxing them. After the head, move to the neck, chest, arms and hands, abdomen, back, thighs and gluteals, lower legs,
and feet.

3. After relaxing each set of muscles, mentally scan your body for any areas of remaining tension and ask those areas to relax completely.

4. Repeat the slow breathing exercise.

5. Gently begin to move your body to come out of the deeply relaxed state.

Try using progressive relaxation directly before or after your massage sessions, directly before bed, or at any time during the day as a pick-me-up. Focus on taking full, deep, even, rhythmic breaths. With a little practice, you can become more aware of your own breathing patterns and use breathwork effectively as you move throughout your day.

Stretches for Gardening

Gardening

Gardening

As April Showers bring May flowers, the pleasure of gardening entices many of us. Unfortunately, gardening without occasional time-outs can potentially tax your muscles and joints; this is true even if you’re agile and limber. Just think about it: some of the twisted and distorted positions you end up in are nothing less than acrobatic feats. But these positions can stress and strain your body.

That’s only part of the problem. Muscular fatigue and soreness also result from remaining in one position for too long or from repeating the same movement over and over, such as clenching your hand when you weed. And that’s exactly why a good rule of thumb is this: from time to time stop gardening and start stretching.

Back Stretches

Let’s begin with back fatigue that  results when you work in a forward bend for an extended time. It’s important that you occasionally stop to give it a break. One way to do this is to stand up with your feet slightly apart, hands placed in the small of your back, your fingertips pointing down for support. With your knees slightly flexed, gently press your chest forward to lift your breastbone upward just a bit.

If you do this motion correctly, you should experience a welcome stretch in your lower back. There’s no need to take this motion to an extreme arch of your back. In fact, it’s not recommended; excessive hyperextension (overarching) of the spine can compress the lumbar disks.  Hold the stretch for about eight to ten seconds while breathing naturally and comfortably.

Another soothing stretch for a garden-weary back is the cat stretch. You might be familiar with this back-soothing movement, perhaps from an exercise or yoga class, but never considered doing it in the garden. Why not? You’re already on your hands and knees for much of your work anyway. It’s just a matter of staying there, pulling in your belly and rounding your back, not unlike a cat’s long, slow stretch after a nap. Make certain that you lower your head and tuck your chin into your chest so there’s no strain  on your neck.

To stretch your lower back still more, you can go directly from the cat stretch into a follow-up stretch by lowering your buttocks until they rest on or near your heels. Keep your head low and arms stretched in front.

Shoulder Stretches

A quick and easy stretch is to do shoulder rotations.  In addition, also do slow shoulder shrugs, which gently, but effectively stretch the trapezius and rhomboid muscles located in the back of the neck and upper part of the back. To do the shrugs correctly, you slowly raise your shoulders toward your ears as far as you can without straining (you can do this while standing or seated). The upward movement should take about five seconds, so don’t rush through it. Then let your shoulders slowly lower to their neutral position. Do three or four shrugs, making sure that you relax completely between each repetition, until the tightness is gone.

Another stretch for relaxing the upper back is the following: With your feet comfortably apart and your hands resting on your waist, slowly press your elbows back bringing them as close together behind you as you can without straining. If you do this simple movement correctly and slowly, you will feel a pleasing stretch between your shoulder blades and across your chest. Again, it only takes a few repetitions.

To relax shoulder and upper back muscles that tire when you dig for too long, particularly when the ground is hard and dry, put your tool down and place the tips of your fingers on your shoulders, right hand on right shoulder, left hand on left. Keeping your hands in place, slowly bring your elbows together at shoulder level, trying to touch them in front of your chin. A slow closing and opening motion, repeated several times, does wonders for relieving fatigue in the upper back.

Another shoulder stretch is done by placing your right hand on your left shoulder, with your elbow raised at approximately shoulder level. Using the heel of the left hand, you pull the right elbow slowly across your chest toward the left shoulder, keeping the elbow parallel to the ground. Hold the stretch for about five seconds and then repeat it on the other side. This therapeutic stretch relieves upper arm and shoulder fatigue.

 

Jenny Nickerson, LMT

Certified Neuromuscular Therapist

The Benefits of Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

By Jenny Nickerson, LMT
Certified Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist

If your experience with the lymphatic system is limited to the doctor checking your lymph nodes as part of a routine office visit, maybe you should think about trying a lymphatic drainage massage. Proper lymph movement and lymph functioning is essential for overall health. Massage can support the lymphatic system, which helps maintain your health.
The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system. It is one of a number of systems of your body. The lymphatic system is composed of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and organs. Part of the body’s defense system, the lymph nodes remove microorganisms and other foreign substances. They act as a filtration system that keeps particulate matter, such as bacteria, from entering the bloodstream.

Stimulating the lymphatic system through manual lymphatic drainage will activate all of the above functions as well as encourage fluid circulation and cell regeneration. Both actions promote detoxification, facilitate healing and support the immune system.

What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
Lymphatic drainage massage is a specific type of massage designed to aid the lymphatic system which uses the hands and fingers to create wave-like movements. These movements are light, rhythmic movements moving toward the lymph nodes and simulate the natural flow of the lymphatic system, which drains waste and debris throughout the body. People with medical needs and those who are healthy can both benefit from this type of massage.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage benefits are numerous and include:

Clearing areas of congestion such as swollen ankles, puffy eyes and swollen legs

Promotion of scar tissue healing, torn ligaments and sprains.

Post-operative healing

Swelling relief following plastic surgery

Treatment of lymphedema and other conditions arising from venous insufficiency

Improving chronic conditions such as sinusitis and arthritis,

Deep relaxation

Lymphatic drainage massage can be especially relaxing because they can reduce pain levels in the body. The International Alliance of Healthcare Educators states that the rhythm, pressure and motion of lymphatic drainage massage work together to reduce pain and stress and to promote general vitality and well-being.

Managing Migraines through Medical Massage Therapy Lakewood CO

Migraine

Migraine

By: Jenny Nickerson

Licensed Massage Therapist
Certified Neuromuscular Therapist
Certified Reflexologist

What Is a Migraine?
A migraine is marked by moderate to severe pain and throbbing in the head, and can be accompanied by nausea as well as sensitivity to light. In some cases, these painful headaches are preceded or accompanied by a sensory warning sign, such as flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your arm or leg. Fortunately, management of migraine pain has improved dramatically in the last decade. Although there’s still no cure, medications are now much more effective. Additionally, alternative treatments like massage have been found to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

How Can Massage Help Manage Migraines?
Massage is an effective way to manage stress and relieve tension- two of the main causes of migraine headaches. Research at The Touch Institute of the University of Miami School of Medicine found that massage therapy decreased the occurrence of headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms while increasing serotonin levels in adults with migraine headaches.

What Techniques Will Be Used?
Professional massage therapists integrate a variety of techniques into their work. Depending on the severity of your migraines or tension headaches, modalities used may include Reflexology, Swedish massage, trigger point therapy or other methods that address your specific requests and needs.

Is There Lasting Relief?
Migraines and other types of headaches are one of the most common complaints seen in the doctor’s office today. The Mayo Clinic recommends that patients with migraines spend at least a half-hour each day doing something either relaxing or that involves the relaxation of muscles. Receiving massage prior to or after symptoms occur is particularly helpful for managing migraines. If you have any pressing concerns, please consult your doctor.

Sources: Mayo Clinic the Touch Institute of the University of Miami School of Medicine

Medical Massage Lakewood Reflexology may be as effective as Pain Killers

Medical Massage Lakewood

Medical Massage Lakewood

By: Jenny Nickerson, LMT

Certified Reflexologist

 

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have found that people felt about 40% less pain, and were able to stand pain for about 45% longer, when they used reflexology as a method of pain relief.

Dr Carol Samuel, who is trained reflexologist and who carried out the experimental procedures as part of her PhD studies, said it was the first time this therapy had been scientifically tested as a treatment for acute pain. She said the results suggested that reflexology could be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions associated with pain such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers .Dr Samuel said:”It is likely that reflexology works in a similar manner to acupuncture by causing the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals.”

Reflexology is a complementary medical approach, which works alongside orthodox medicine, in which pressure may be applied to any body area but is commonly used on either the feet or hands.

The study has been published in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Older Adults with Medical Massage Therapy Lakewood CO

Medical Massage Therapy Lakewood CO

Medical Massage Therapy Lakewood CO

If you’re a senior citizen, it’s not uncommon for you to experience pain and stiffness in your muscles and joints, especially following more vigorous-than-usual physical activity. Massage therapy helps reduce inflammation-related pain around your joints, which promotes the restoration of your full range of joint motion. Improved range of motion can enhance your ability to ambulate and perform your activities of daily living, which in turn can lead to increased independence and a higher quality of life.

The Mayo Clinic reports that improved circulation is one of the principle benefits of massage therapy. Healthy circulation of blood and lymph is especially important if you are a senior citizen, as you may be more susceptible to decreased circulation. Reduced circulation is particularly problematic if you are a diabetic, as you are prone to lower limb problems due to reduced blood flow to the tissues of your lower legs and feet. Regular massage therapy, in conjunction with an appropriate exercise plan, can help you prevent diabetic complications in your lower extremities. An additional benefit of massage therapy is the improved lymph flow throughout your body. Improved circulation of both lymph and blood can help you recover more quickly following injuries, and it can also boost your energy levels.

According to a 2010 study about massage therapy and health outcomes in older adults, published in the “Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies,” those who received massage therapy within the past year produced significantly higher health outcome scores in the following categories: emotional well-being, limitations due to physical issues and limitations due to emotional issues. Massage therapy can help you by reducing your anxiety, depression, stress and loneliness, and can improve your self-confidence and enhance your quality of life. The sense of companionship you derive from a visit to your massage therapist is also an important healing effect of massage therapy. Human touch can have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being.

By: Jenny Nickerson, LMT

Certified Neuromuscular Therapist

Certified Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist

Top 5 Reasons to Get a Foot Massage with Medical Massage Therapy in Lakewood CO

Medical Massage

Medical Massage

By Jenny Nickerson, LMT

Certified Neuromuscular Therapist

Our feet are the least pampered parts of our body. A daily foot massage enhances lubrication and circulation, and helps draw toxins to the surface for release. Also, a daily massage can also help to keep our feet strong and provide more flexibility.

Here are five reasons why you should indulge in a good foot massage:

  • Massage helps relieve pain.
  • Massage helps improve blood circulation, thereby transferring more oxygen to the blood cells.
  • Massage is rejuvenating as it releases any blockages that can hold back energy.
  • Foot massage is believed to improve symptoms in patients with complex medical conditions, ie multiple sclerosis and diabetes.
  • And last, but certainly not the least, foot massage by medical massage therapy in Lakewood CO relieve stress and fatigue as it loosens stressed out muscles thereby providing instant relief.

The Top Ten Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Medical Massage Therapy Lakewood CO

Medical Massage Lakewood

Medical Massage Lakewood

By: Jenny Nickerson
Certified Massage Therapist
Certified Reflexologist

Medical Massage Therapy Lakewood CO has been used as a therapeutic modality for thousands of years, and across cultures around the world. Different types of massage techniques are designed to target specific areas, dysfunctions and promote natural healing processes. With all of these specific massage techniques there are some distinctive benefits that can be received from receiving massage on a regular basis. Physical benefits range from improved circulation and increased flexibility in tense muscles to decreased pain and lower stress levels. Mental benefits include a calm mind, increased awareness, better focus, improved concentration and superior alertness. Below are the top ten physical and mental health benefits of massage.

1. Promotes deeper breathing
Deep breathing is vital to ensure that oxygen circulates easily throughout your body which encourages healing and growth in the process. Decreased oxygen circulation results in headaches, tension, aches and random muscle pain that can develop into a significant problem over time. By enhancing your oxygen intake, you will naturally release of toxins and negative energy within your body.

2. Improves posture
Although massage should never be used as a replacement for chiropractic or medical treatment, posture can slowly and naturally improve as the spine and muscles around the spine become more flexible and supple. Improved posture also aids in deeper breathing and less tension throughout your body.

3. Improves circulation
An improvement in both blood and lymph circulation helps your body gain strength and maximizes your energy level. Massage facilitates removeal of toxins in the blood and lymph in addition to encouraging circulation of fresh energy. Efficient circulation also helps in muscle recovery, growth, and promotes the natural healing process.

4. Increases and promotes joint flexibility
Repetitive stress or overused joints can stunt growth and create problems later. Massage helps to relieve stored tension and encourages flexibility of the joints. Any soreness experienced after a massage can indicate problem areas requiring further treatment. Focusing on these areas during your next massage can increase joint recovery.

5. Enhances a calm mind
Encouraging a calm mind creates an avenue for creativity– it is during these times that our minds are most conducive to creative thinking, developing plans, organizing thoughts and releasing stressful thoughts. Massage can encourage this ‘calm’ state of mind by relaxing the entire body.

6. Reduces anxiety
As a natural deep relaxant, a quality massage can significantly reduce anxiety. Usually, anxiety is stored in some key area of the body, such as the lower back, shoulders, abdomen and neck. By relieving these areas of tension, the mind can ‘let go’ of anxiety and experience a light, almost freeing sensation.

7. Increases self-awareness
The mind-body-spirit connection is often overlooked in today’s fast-paced society. From the minute you wake up, to the moment you go to bed, it is easy to slip into ‘mind-only’ mode. When you re-establish the connection with your body, you will experience greater ease of movement, a more centered feeling and an enhanced feeling of well-being.

8. Promotes mental alertness
Although a massage can bring you into a state of deep relaxation, this is also a state of heightened mental alertness. Your mind is relaxed and calm, but acutely aware. In this enhanced state, your mind is capable of solving even the toughest problems!

9. Increases peace of mind
With your ability to feel relaxed and naturally aware, peace of mind is the typical result. Peace of mind can be defined as a sense of calm well-being and just feeling good naturally.

10. Satisfies need for human touch
As human beings, we all need to feel the touch of another human being. This can range from a simple hug, handshake, or a nurturing touch. A massage encourages this type of safe connection and increases your appreciation for this human need.

Listed above are just the top ten benefits of receiving massage on a regular basis. During different times, or stages of your life, you may need a specific treatment. Try various approaches and see what works best for you. Some alternative bodywork sessions include deep therapeutic tissue massage targeting a specific area to relieve chronic patterns of tension; manual lymphatic drainage massage to stimulate lymph and interstitial fluid circulation; Swedish masssage using long strokes, kneading, friction, percussive and vibration techniques on the more superficial layers of muscles; reflexology to apply appropriate pressure to specific points and zones on feet, hands and ears and Reiki, an energy-focused session. Call LifeSource Health Partners today at 303-934-3600 to schedule your next Medical Massage Therapy Lakewood CO appointment.

Yes, You Need a Medical Massage Therapy Lakewood CO

Massage

Massage

 

Have you had your tires rotated recently? Been to the dentist for a cleaning? There are some appointments you don’t think twice about making—they’re just part of life. Maybe it’s time to think about Medical Massage as routine maintenance.

“But My Body Doesn’t Hurt”

We automatically schedule routine maintenance checks for our cars. All too often, we don’t give our bodies the same consideration. Fail to get your oil changed or your tires rotated and you can run into problems down the road. Similarly, when you fail to pay attention to your body and provide it with the care it deserves, you may run into health issues that could have been prevented.

Think of it this way—vehicle maintenance (like oil changes and tire rotations) isn’t something you do when you only where there is a problem.  It’s something you do to prevent problems from happening in the first place.  The same holds true for your body.

“But I’m Already Relaxed”

Massage should be an integral part of any well –rounded lifestyle that embraces health and wellness. Even if you only use the massage hour as an opportunity to unplug from the noise and stress of everyday life—that’s fine.  Massage has been proven to reduce stress.  That being said, massage does not simply promote relaxation—it also improves flexibility, reduces blood pressure, improves sleep, and may even facilitate a change in one’s sense of self by enhancing your ability to experience your body in a positive way.

It’s time to take time for you! If you are relatively healthy and injury free, Congratulations—now take steps to ensure you stay that way for years to come and schedule your next massage session today!

Jenny Nickerson, LMT

Certified Neuromuscular Therapist

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