Get a Massage! It’s Good for You – No Need to Feel Guilty

So, I need a massage! I really do. I can feel it in every cell in my being. Maybe you are thinking, “Stacy, a massage is a nice way to pamper yourself but saying you need it is a bit much, don’t you know.” But need is what I mean to say. Massages are part of my healthcare. I focus on holistic modalities whenever possible and massages are an important part of that tool chest. They have many health benefits, of course there are the usual benefits that everyone thinks of:

  1. It feels great!
  2. It is so Relaxing.
  3. Massage can relieve pain and tension. 
  4. It is a great way to practice good self-care and remind yourself that you are worthy.

But, did you know, there have been lots of studies that show there are many more health benefits then you might realize?

  1. As a hospice nurse, I have seen the benefits first hand, that massage has at end of life. It helps relieve the symptoms that patients face as a result of their illnesses, medications, and the process of dying.
  2. Massage has been found to be beneficial for certain diagnoses. The Mayo Clinic says that research shows massage as proven to help with conditions such as fibromyalgia and digestive problems. WebMD also reports that studies have shown its benefits against back pain, headaches, and even depression. 
  3. It increases circulation. This just makes sense that the process of massaging the body would help move the blood through the vessels and keep it flowing smoothly.  
  4. Massage boosts your immune system according to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. This is the precise reason why getting a massage during cold and flu season is even more important.
  5. Massages are great at decreasing tension both emotional and physical. So often emotional tension shows up physically in the body. For me it settles into my upper back, shoulders, and neck. The massage therapists who work with me, typically spend the majority of their time focusing on these locations. In a 90 minute full body massage, the rest of my body may only get a quick 15 minutes.
  6. Massages have been shown to promote calm and decrease clinical anxiety. According to the American Massage Therapy Association; decreased anxiety is one of the benefits of massage. Every massage therapist works a little differently. Some have a space with dim lighting and relaxing music but I have also had massages in the practitioners living room. For me, when you can get a massage outside, that is the best! I have had them on beaches and in forests. No matter what the location, massage has a way of letting my mind relax and the worries of tomorrow drop away. 
  7. They also, lowers Blood Pressure. According to Body and Mind Massage in Chelmsford, MA, it not only lowers blood pressure but also decreases cortisol,  the stress hormone. Reduction in cortisol can prevent weight gain. I do not know how often you would need to get massage to loose weight but it could be added to your health plan, along with other modalities, to help you on your journey.

Massages are not for everyone, but if you have never experienced one or if it has been a long time since you did, I highly encourage you to go get a massage. Go ahead, you deserve it and it is good for you!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your world be full of healthy habits that help you feel great, as if by magic.

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8 Natural Cures for Headaches

Nothing can disrupt a good day quite like a headache. It makes it hard to concentrate and hard to get tasks finished. Reading things or even viewing programs can be painful. All you want to do is hide in the dark. When Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen just won’t do, either because they don’t work or you want a more natural alternative, what can you do? Here are some ideas of things you can try.

 1. Meditation – some nice deep breathing in a dimly lit room with your eyes closed. This helps to relieve stress and calm your headache.
2. Essential Oils – Frankincense and Lavender are two great oils that help many different things. Peppermint is also especially powerful for headaches. It is best to put it on the back of your neck or your wrists. Keep the oils away from your eyes. Especially the peppermint.
3. Massage – There is nothing quite like having someone rub away the kinks and knots in your neck. Professional massage therapists know just what to do when you have a persistent headache. You can even ask your friends and family to try to rub your neck and loosen some of the stiff muscles.
4. Ice packs – A nice cool pack on your back of your neck or head can help calm spasming muscles. I have a cherry pit pack, I keep it in the freezer. It can also be heated in the microwave for old aches. This item is essential in my arsenal against pain.
5. Reiki – Or any energy healing. Quantum touch, Qigong, Healing touch, are all types of energy healings. These can be powerful in getting rid of a persistent headache. They can be a bit costly. I used to charge $75/hr. Perhaps you can offer to trade with a healer, if this is more than you can afford for a headache remedy. I find that good energy work is totally worth the costs. Maybe someday health insure will cover these services.
6. Caffeine – Are you addicted to caffeine? If you have substantial daily caffeine intake, it may be a sign of withdraws. I would recommend you have a little caffeine to help decrease the discomfort and start to wean yourself off of this addictive substance.
7. Water – A headache can be a sign of dehydration. Make sure you are drinking lots of nice pure water. Did you know that caffeine is a diuretic? It can actually make you more dehydrated when you are drinking caffeinated beverages.
8. Acupuncture – You might think having needles stuck in you is not very relaxing. You would be surprised. I find this one of the most relaxing modalities I have ever had done. It helps remove blocks and restore energy flows. Give it a try and you just might like it.

What other things have you done to help persistent head aches? What is your favorite natural way to combat headaches?