Category Archives: Massage Rocks!

 3 Things Massage Can Help You With Right Now

 

We know massage will make us move better and feel happier, but not everyone can make time for regular appointments. Luckily massage is great preventive care and it can have some instantly-gratifying results. 

Check out these 3 things massage can help you with right now.

Headaches  

Tension headaches (often called stress headaches) are the most common type of headaches among adults.

Pain or pressure in your forehead or on the top or sides of your head? Could be a tension headache. It’s especially likely if you’ve been hunching over a desk or forward working, spending a lot of time in a car, or if you’re still shivering and huddling to keep warm as May slowly creeps in!

Massage can help get rid of that headache and regular massage may well keep it from coming back. (If you want to learn more about tension headaches and try a few self-massage techniques, check out this article.) 

Low Back Pain

major research study was published in 2011 showing that massage therapy was better than drugs and usual care for general lower back pain. Better than drugs. I just had to say that twice.

Just about everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their life. If it happens to you, don’t suffer. Schedule a massage with me (085 1502378) and get back into action.

Irritability

Have you ever been so cranky you got on your own nerves? Yeah, me, too. It isn’t fun. When you feel yourself biting everyone’s head off when they ask you a question, it might be time for some self-care.

Massage is great for stress relief. You get to shut off all the things that buzz and chime and aggravate you to the point of eye twitches. Music, silence, warmth, massage. All the cranky disappears.

This is dual purpose. You’ll feel better and all the people around you will be happier that you’re back to your sunny self.

Got a headache, low back pain, or a case of the grumpies? Get a massage scheduled with me – 085 1502378 and we’ll handle that fast.


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5 facts you should know about women’s health

5 facts you should know about women’s health

  1. Women are more prone to certain health conditions than men. Women are more likely to experience depression, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some conditions, like osteoporosis, are directly related to women’s hormone fluctuations and smaller frames. Others, like fibromyalgia, are much more common in women, but scientists have yet to figure out why.

 

  1. Women do not always experience the same symptoms as men with the same conditions. While men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women, women are more likely to die of the same heart attack. The reasons may be related to the publicized symptoms: while everyone knows about chest pressure and pain down the left arm, these are symptoms typically experienced by men. Women may experience dizziness, light-headedness, or fatigue. Knowing the different ways conditions manifest in men and women can truly be a lifesaver.

 

  1. Women have different risk factors than men. Remember that bit about women being more susceptible to stroke? In addition to the risk factors shared with men, there are also many women-specific risks, including being pregnant, taking hormonal birth control pills, using hormone replacement therapy, and experiencing frequent migraines. Unfortunately, these additional risk factors don’t always show up in educational materials.

 

  1. Women and men sometimes react differently to drugs and other treatments. Women wake up faster from anesthesia. Some drugs, like ibuprofen, seem to be more effective in men than women, while others like erythromycin (an antibiotic) work better in women. And of course there are medications typically prescribed for sex-specific issues that can interfere with each other. As an example, Paracetemol can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.

 

In spite of all this, women’s and men’s bodies are more similar than they are different. We share 99% of our genetic material with every other person on the planet. We have the same basic structure, suffer from most of the same illnesses, and heal in the same way. A healthy diet, active lifestyle, adequate sleep, and positive attitude are beneficial to men and women alike. There are no studies showing whether massage or yoga therapy is better for any one subset of people than others. Maybe that research will be done in the future.

In the meantime, if you’d like to know whether it works for you, there’s only one way to find out!

Schedule an appointment today on 085 1502378 or see www.anandacentre.com for more details on Yoga Classes and other therapies available at the centre.

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Self care made easy…

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Busy-ness is the trend these days. People carry over-packed schedules like winning trophies. “I’m SO busy at work!” “How do you have time to do that? I’m too busy to read/watch TV/exercise/do anything fun.” “I can’t get monthly massages or go to a yoga class I have too much to DO!”

Too much “busy” could be making you tired, sick, and probably cranky.

When do you give yourself time out or relax? RELAX. “Relaxation” is a word we hear lots, but don’t know always know what it means. Here, I’ve compiled some options for you.

re·lax  verb \ri-ˈlaks\

1: the state of being free from tension or anxiety.

2: a way to rest and enjoy yourself

3: recreation or rest, especially after a period of work.

4: the loss of tension in a part of the body, especially in a muscle when it ceases to contract.

5: something that you do to stop feeling nervous, worried, etc.

More importantly, what does relaxation mean to you?

If you’re not a “hot bath and good book” kind of person, you probably cringe at hotel spa photos of people with stones piled on their backs. But here’s the beauty: You can make your own definition of relaxation.

It’s your job to figure out what you enjoy doing, what makes you smile, and what makes you feel like you are a hundred miles from work or home jobs?

Then, make time for that.

You have a schedule. Write in special time for a hobby, a nap, massage, your favorite show, a weekend getaway, a new class, ANY thing you enjoy can be relaxing.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Spend part of the day alone.
  • Spend part of the day with your family, doing ONLY fun stuff.
  • Meditate – see the apps Headspace and Insight Timer if you have a smart phone.
  • Devote time to your hobby.
  • Sleep in. Or get up extra early. Whichever excites you!
  • Get the kids to school and pop back into bed for an hour…oh the loveliness!
  • Schedule a massage or reflexology! Here in Ananda Centre we offer both. See www.anandacentre.com for more details.
  • Come to one of my Rest & Restore Saturday morning workshops. 2 hours of gentle movement and blissed out, supported postures. Next on is Jan 24th 10am. Contact me on 085 1502378 to book your place.
  • If you’ve always wanted a day to “not leave the house” today’s the day! Wake when you wish, eat when you’re hungry, stay in your jammies and read a book.

Taking care of you is important. And, self-care puts you in a better frame of mind to take care of the people who depend on you. So find the thing that mellows you out, and make it happen!

Massage Therapy, Yoga and Anxiety

“It is estimated that 1 in 9 individuals will suffer a primary anxiety disorder over their lifetime. Only a fraction of these individuals receive appropriate treatment which is a great pity as it has been demonstrated consistently that with expert therapy the majority of sufferers can achieve a lasting improvement.”  www.stpatricks.ie

Anxiety is described as a feeling of dread, fear, or apprehension often with no clear justification. Most people experience symptoms of anxiety at one time or another, but for those with a disorder, normal daily life is often interrupted and limited.

A few common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social phobia (Social Anxiety), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While there are varying symptoms with each, many physiological responses overlap with the different disorders. Many people are able to function with symptoms while others are unable cope with them.

Some disorders manifest with physical symptoms like sleeping problems, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea, sweating or dry mouth. Others are purely emotional, denoted by  excessive, unrealistic worry, feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness. Usually, there’s a combination of physical and emotional symptoms.

Massage Therapy or/and Yoga may help anxiety

The American Massage Therapy Association has adopted a position statement based on research findings asserting that “massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.” It goes on to say that massage may reduce symptoms of anxiety in women in labor, psychiatric patients, cancer patients, patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, children with illnesses, and many more types of clients.

In an article published on http://www.healthharvard.edu it was noted that  “a descriptive 2005 study examined the effects of a single yoga class for inpatients at a New Hampshire psychiatric hospital. The 113 participants included patients with bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. After the class, average levels of tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and fatigue dropped significantly, as measured by the Profile of Mood States, a standard 65-item questionnaire that participants answered on their own before and after the class. Patients who chose to participate in additional classes experienced similar short-term positive effects.”

The effects of massage and yoga therapy include reduced blood pressure, slowed/regulated breathing, and a slower pulse rate. If increased heart rate and rapid breathing are symptoms of anxiety could  and yoga therapy may have a positive effect. Simply taking time to relax and removing yourself from the busy-ness of daily life can be helpful in handling some kinds of anxiety. Having a one hour massage once a month or attending a restorative yoga class are of great benefit.

Those with more complicated anxiety issues may benefit from regular massage/class  in conjunction with talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Restorative Yoga is used to help anxiety issues by stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System (Rest and Digest instead of Fight and Flight). The parasympathetic system slows our heart rate, dilates blood vessels, increases digestive and glandular secretions, and calming certain muscles. By regularly putting our body in this relaxed state it becomes less vulnerable to stress-related disease. The focus of Restorative Yoga is relaxation and renewal. The body is supported in various yoga poses that are maintained for several minutes at a time with the aid of props.

Ask questions

If you are unsure about trying massage or yoga to help your anxiety, ask questions. Call me and we can talk about your experience with massage or yoga and how it may help you. Check in with your doctor and your therapist or counselor. (Be sure to let me know if they would like more information about massage, yoga and anxiety, I can provide that!)

When you’re ready, we’ll schedule an appointment or come join the monthly Rest and Restore Workshop here at Ananda Centre, Slane (Tel: 085 1502378) and you can see firsthand how massage and yoga may help you.

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1 Really Big Reason Why My Job Rocks!

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I recently had the magnificent honour of giving a young adult their first massage therapy treatment. I do not say this lighty! I always get a buzz when I am give someone their first ever massage treatment…I know their lives will never be the same again!  And it has nothing to do with me, it’s all to do with them and how great massage therapy is. Their experience of relaxation, resting, being pain free, being stress free is all theirs and helped by massage therapy. Look at it like “life before massage and life after”.

To allow a young person experience massage therapy is truly great. Life at this age has many challenges, some more serious than others. Competitiveness, heavy workloads, and excessive involvement in activities are among the factors stressing out our young people.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a report emphasizing that it is crucial for students, parents, and schools to understand the role of stress in young people’s lives. Teens and parents can visit www.aap.org/stress to download a personalized stress management plan.

This is a good blog piece on why teens need massage too… http://invigoratemassageandwellness.com/2013/08/21/3-ways-teenagers-can-benefit-from-massage/

Is Your Texting Creating an Ongoing Pain Condition?

texting cat

C’mon, it’s a cat texting!

By now, most massage therapists are aware of the infamous Texting Thumb—the hand, finger and thumb pain and stiffness that can result from overly enthusiastic texting, or typing on a hand-held phone that does everything for you.
New research shows that a second phone-related condition is making itself known: neck-and-shoulder pain directly related to texting.
“Most young adults  prefer texting over e-mail or phone calls, and ergonomics researchers are starting to wonder whether it’s putting the younger generation at risk for some overuse injuries once reserved for older adults who have spent years in front of a computers,” noted a press release from the department of Epidemiology at the College of Health Professions and Social Work at Temple University (Philadelphia, USA), whose researchers conducted the study.

Judith Gold, an assistant professor in the department, recently presented preliminary research that suggested that among college students, the more they texted, the more pain they had in their neck and shoulders. “What we’ve seen so far is very similar to what we see with office workers who’ve spent most of their time at a computer,” said Gold, who directs the Ergonomics and Work Physiology Laboratory. “The way the body is positioned for texting—stationary shoulders and back with rapidly moving fingers—is similar to the position for typing on a computer.”
Current studies on computer use show office workers are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, and tendonitis. Massage and other bodywork techniques have been shown to lessen neck and shoulder pain and improve range of motion.

 

“Looking around our campus, you see every student on their cell phones, typing away,” Gold said. “It’s the age group that texts the most, so it’s important to know what the health effects may be to learn whether it will cause long term damage.”

What can you do?  This little info-graphic is brought to us by So King, the inventor of Candy Crush (I haven’t tried it yet and don’t want to!). It’s a mobile warm up designed for those addicted to the games but it still is relevant for texting.

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Massage Therapy can help reduce depression in Pregnant Women

New research shows massage therapy reduced depression in pregnant women, and also reduced the incidence of massaged women’s babies being born prematurely.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Touch Research Institutes, where pioneering research about massage has been conducted since 1992.

Pregnant women diagnosed with major depression were given 12 weeks of massage, twice per week. A control group did not receive massage, according to an abstract published on http://www.pubmed.gov.

The massage-therapy group versus the control group not only had reduced depression by the end of the massage-therapy period, they also had reduced depression and cortisol levels during the postpartum period.

The massaged women’s new-borns were also less likely to be born prematurely and low birth weight, pubmed noted, and they had lower cortisol levels and performed better on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioural Assessment habituation, orientation and motor scales.

Brenda has been working with Pregnancy Massage for 7 years. She received her training from the Well Mother, training with founder Suzanne Yates (Body-worker and Birth Educator).
Well Mother (wellmother.org) trains therapists in Pregnancy and Post Pregnancy Massage, Shiatsu and exercise for maternity care and support: supporting the wisdom of parents and babies.
Below is a guided visualisation that Suzanne has done to help with connection between you and baby. Enjoy!

December 1st World Aids Day – a message from me…

We’ve come such a long way since the early ‘80s, when AIDS came onto the scene, killing many and frightening more. There was so little known at that time. Scary times for those who had the disease and those who loved them. It was through the hard work and advocacy of many people that we discovered HIV, learned how to prevent its transmission, and how to hold it in check.

Today, HIV is a chronic illness, but some of the fear still remains. There are still people, thankfully, working tirelessly to eliminate stigma just as there are those working to find a vaccine and a cure. Still more are working to make the lives of people living with HIV better in whatever ways they can. Some of these are massage therapists like me.

Massage therapy is not a cure. It’s not even a treatment. But it can help HIV+ individuals live happier, healthier lives:

● Massage can help alleviate peripheral neuropathy (tingling, numbness, and pain in the feet and legs), a side effect of antiretroviral therapy. Staying on a regular treatment regimen is paramount if you have HIV, so whatever makes that process easier is worthwhile.

● Massage can help with anxiety and depression, both common in people living with HIV. Mental illness is not to ne taken lightly, and is one of the more common reasons that people find it difficult to take care of themselves.

● Massage can be a positive experience in your own body. When you have a chronic illness of any kind, it’s easy to feel constantly at war with yourself. A massage is a time when you and your body get to be on the same team for a little while.

● Massage is a time to connect through touch. For all the good information out there about HIV/AIDS, there are still plenty of ridiculous myths about how it is transmitted. This often manifests itself as a lack of everyday touch, which is especially devastating to people who have lost their intimate partners.

So let me state this very clearly:

You will never be turned away from my massage table due to your HIV status. When you have secondary issues that mean that massage would be harmful to either you or me, I will let you know specifically what they are, so that you are not left in the dark. If you find yourself with a condition I am not trained to work with, I will do my best to find you another massage therapist who is.

Your HIV status is private. I will not tell your partner, your mother, your employer, your doctor, or your best friend, unless you specifically ask me to, in writing. If you would like copies of any records or notes I keep about our sessions together, you are welcome to them. But they are not for others’ eyes.

How you contracted HIV is none of my business. Unless it’s something that affects your health in other ways (like current drug use), it has no impact on your massage. But if you do decide to share, I will not judge you.

December 1 is World AIDS Day.
This month, whoever you are, take a little time to learn about what’s been discovered about HIV since you first heard of it all those years ago. We now know about different strains of HIV, and how our bodies react differently to each. We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and how serodiscordant couples (couples in which only one partner is HIV+) can safely conceive children together. And we know that the support of friends, neighbors, family, and loved ones is one of the key factors in the health and wellbeing of people with HIV.
This post is just one small action I’m taking to help everyone feel more welcome in Ananda Centre.
What will yours be?

3 ways teens can benefit from massage

Adolescence is a unique stage of life. In between childhood and adulthood, teens go through massive changes on both a physiological and a psychological level. Naturally, this means that teens also have unique health and wellness issues. While nothing replaces regular doctor visits and an active lifestyle, massage therapy can be a valuable component of a teen’s health and wellness. Here are three different issues often occurring during adolescence that massage has been shown to help:

1. Poor body image and eating disorders.

According to a 2007 study of Irish children and adolescents, 1.2% may be at risk of developing anorexia nervosa, with 2% at risk of developing bulimia nervosa. That and the majority of them go untreated. Depression, social pressures regarding appearance, and participation in sports where leanness is valued, are all associated with the development of eating disorders. Needless to say, secondary school provides ample opportunity for all of these. It is important to note here that it is not only girls who are being affected. With the rise of boy bands and such, boys too are beginning to show on the stats.

Studies done at the Touch Research Institute (University of Miami School of Medicine) with women who struggle with either anorexia nervosa or bulimia showed that regular massage decreased anxiety levels, increased levels of the feel-good hormone dopamine, and reduced depression scores. Participants in the study also showed better scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory, indicating better body awareness. While counseling is obviously of paramount importance, massage therapy can be a powerful adjunct to other forms of treatment for eating disorders.

2. PMS and menstrual pain.

What’s worse than menstrual problems? Menstrual problems when you’re a teenager! Between the irregular cycles, the inexperience with managing symptoms, and the embarrassment about getting help, adolescence can be a rough time to have a uterus. Effective treatments like the pill can have negative social connotations and maybe lead to complications later.

Massage therapy has been shown to help with pain, anxiety, and feelings of depression related to PMS, as well as other symptoms like water retention. Girls can also benefit from learning self-massage techniques to use when experiencing menstrual cramps on a day-to-day basis.

3. Athletic injuries.

While secondary school athletes are injured at around the same rate as professional athletes, their growing bodies mean that they’re often injured in different ways. Since bones grow before muscles and tendons do, youth are more susceptible to muscle, tendon, and growth plate injuries. Sprains, strains, growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illness are among the most common injuries among young athletes. Boys are most likely to experience athletic injuries while playing gaelic football, hurling, rugby and football, while football, basketball and camogie lead to the most injuries in girls.

Sports massage has a long history, and can be especially effective when dealing with repetitive motion injuries like tennis elbow and runner’s knee. Massage therapists are now found at every kind of sporting event, from the Olympics all the way down to your local 10K. Given that teen athletes can be more vulnerable to injury and overuse than their adult counterparts, it makes sense to offer them the same opportunities for healing and pain relief.

I have worked a lot with teens in the past. They have all loved massage. What a great way to introduce the importance of self care to a young person. It is something they will have for the rest of their lives. It is a shorter massage session (generally half hour) and the parent is required to be present in the room if teen is under 16.
Give me a shout if you have any questions or would like to book a session of Massage Therapy.

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My Yoga and Massage Journey

My earliest yoga memory is with my mum and siblings sitting in the attic space we kids had made into a play area. We were doing a candle meditation with her. I must have been about 10 or so. Mum started her yoga journey when she was pregnant with my sister who is now 30. I remember liking the candle and closing my eyes and still seeing it in my mind’s eye.

It was 2 years after this that I fell out of love with yoga! We lived close to the wonderful Anne Marie McGlinchy and I suffered from asthma so my mum thought it would be good for me to go to Anne Marie for some therapy. However this clashed with a gym class my friends had taken up after school. I couldn’t go to the gym class and so resented the yoga/breathing exercises. It is funny when I think of it now, my poor parents trying to get me to do the postures and give me the space to do it. Not easy when there were 5 siblings below me.

I cannot remember Yoga featuring in my life after that until I was in my twenties but I am sure it was always there in some aspect or another in my thinking etc. I was vegetarian for many years much to the amusement of friends. I have always been against violence and injustice. Very much a pacifist. I always believed in treating others as I would like to be treated.In my late teens I started to have trouble with my back. I went to chiropractors, mainly, for many years. I had my first massage from my mum when I was 24. I also went to a few of her yoga classes. It was around this time I did an evening course in Herbalism, something I always had an interest in. This led me to working in a Health shop when I moved to Galway and then onto working with Dr. Dilis Clare, medical herbalist. It was here I met other therapists who rented rooms from the clinic. I got to experience some wonderful, varied body work. I was however still having problems with my back. I did little or no exercise. The most I did was walk but I was working hard with a part-time job waitressing. My lifestyle probably was not the best but I was aware when I was “good” to eat well and sleep.

It was a round the world trip and visit to a great chiropractor in Sydney when the penny finally dropped. She told me in a roundabout way that I had to take up yoga if I wanted to save my back. She put it in such a way that it all made sense. I am forever grateful for my chat with her that day. How progressive she was too as up till then my experience with other chiros had been very much based on repeat visits to them. I called my mum and she told me some very basics to get me started until I got back home. Forward bend, cat pose and lying down/knees bent twist. All I remembered doing with her in her classes. When I got home, mum did a programme for me and let’s just say I have never looked back. The level of pain I used to experience with my back was enough for me to not work some days. Now I felt as if I was in control. I took many classes and workshops during my time living in Galway too. I was always interested in the other aspects of yoga. Mum had done pranayama with us over the years and I loved learning about the neti pots in a workshop. I especially loved the relaxation. Whenever I was stressed and couldn’t sleep I would practice the techniques I learned in class. I also went onto become a massage therapist, something that I would have laughed at years before because of my back trouble.

As I write this I almost forgot to mention my asthma which is now totally under control. A little help from modern medicine but a lot of how strong my lungs are now comes down to the breathing exercises. I fully believe Yoga has helped my breathing.

I want people to know that they can take back control of their bodies and stop pain. I understand now of course that pain has emotional attachment too but again yoga comes up trumps on that aspect too by helping the person come to terms with their bodies and minds better. I want to massage people and help alleviate the pain but I want them to take responsibility too for their bodies by giving them the tools to do exactly that. I am in a good space in my life now and I know much of this has to do with yoga – physically, mentally and spiritually.