How Often Should I Get A Massage?

The most common question I get from my clients is, "How often should I get a massage?" The answer depends on the person asking the question and the benefits they hope to receive.

Here are the general guidelines I recommend: 

General Wellness


If you are a healthy person with no chronic discomfort or injuries, once a month is sufficient. This helps prevent injury and helps you become more aware and in tune with your body. Monthly massage also allows each massage to build upon the last so that you are not essentially starting over from scratch each time you come in. 

Treatment of Chronic Conditions


If you do have chronic discomfort (i.e., migraines, backaches, neck and shoulder aches) or are recovering from an injury, you will need more frequent massages to see lasting relief. A great example of this is exercising. What would you achieve if you excised only once a month (or every 6 months)? It takes frequent trips to the gym to see lasting results. 

When you come in for massage and go back to your regular life, the benefits from the massage last a few days. This doesn't mean you need to come in for massage every three days. During my client sessions, I strive to educate you about what is going on with your body and provide recommendations that will help minimize the reoccurrence of injury and discomfort.

When I see a client with a specific injury, such as sciatica, frequent sessions are necessary; typically weekly or biweekly. There are times I will refer these clients to another practitioner, such as a chiropractor, to work in conjunction with me to speed up the recovery process. To fully recover, you will need to follow the recommended treatment plan. Sciatica is a symptom, but there is an underlying cause to the problem that needs to be addressed to treat the symptom.

Enhanced Athletic Performance


Massage is a necessary support system for athletes to maintain muscle health and flexibility. People preparing for athletic events or heavily involved in sports should receive massage once a week during intense training and less often, perhaps once a month, during the off-season. Massage helps athletes perform at their best, while helping to prevent injury.

Stress Relief


Studies show that the benefits of massage help combat stress, insomnia, and anxiety. People going through a particularly stressful situation or those leading high-stress lifestyles, should aim to receive a massage twice per month.

Long-Term Health


We live in a society that wants a quick-fix, but we also have to take responsibility for our long-term health and well-being. I understand that there are sometimes things preventing you from following through on scheduling massages, such as money and busy schedules. Think about the effects massage will have on your long-term health and well-being. What is that worth to you? Only you can make the decision to heal your body, and I am here to help facilitate the path to healing.

Please feel free to schedule your next appointment online. Massage packages are available for those who would like to receive frequent massage and save money. I look forward to hearing from you!         

(NVMT 7593)
 

Fun Facts About Massage Therapy

Massage is regarded as one of the oldest health care services; it was used in ancient China, India, Japan, and Egypt. Nowadays, massage therapy is one of the most recognized medical services providing relief to people all over the world. Today, there are around 80 different types of massage treatments with emphasis on different conditions and parts of the body. Given how long massage therapy has been practiced, it is no wonder that it's mentioned throughout history. Today, many interesting things have been discovered about this medical practice such as: 

  • There are approximately 5 million touch receptors in skin and 3,000 on tip of the finger

  • Whenever we receive a massage our body releases endorphins; the body's natural pain killers

  • In Korea, only blind or visually impaired can practice massage

  • Thailand is also famous for their blind massage therapists

  • 60 minutes of massage has the same effect on your body as 8 hours of quality sleep

  • Egyptian tomb paintings show people being massaged

  • Julius Cesar used massage as a cure for epilepsy

  • Massage reduces our heart rate and lowers blood pressure

  • The sedentary lifestyle of most Americans guarantees low back pain

  • Bob Hope, who lived to be 100, credited massage therapy as his key to his longevity

  • Massage before an athletic event increases athletic performance and prevents injury

  • Massage increases lymphatic flow and strengthens the immune system

  • Massage is used to effectively treat depression and anxiety

  • Stress is the number one underlying cause of illness and massage therapy alleviates stress

  • Office workers who are massaged regularly are more alert, perform better and are less stressed than those who aren't massaged

Schedule an appointment with me to learn more fun facts about what massage can do for you! 

(NVMT 7593)

Benefits of Workplace Massage

Photo by Michael R. Erwine Photography Model: Lori Ann Pirote Cruz

Photo by Michael R. Erwine Photography
Model: Lori Ann Pirote Cruz

The benefits of corporate chair massage are far-reaching for employees and employers. If you are thinking of bringing massage therapy to the workplace and are curious about the benefits, I am here to answer your questions. I have experience working in the corporate wold as well as providing chair massage to employees. 

Benefits of workplace Massage 

Many of the benefits of chair massage are similar to the benefits of receiving a regular massage at a spa or clinic, but in the comfort and convenience of your workplace. Onsite massage eliminates the need to travel to a massage facility, and is a fraction of the cost. Plus, chair massage makes the experience comfortable for those who have never had a massage before and may be uncomfortable removing their clothing as is done in a regular massage. 

Many studies have been conducted on the effects of chair massage by professional organizations such as the American Massage Therapy Association. The studies referenced in this blog are specific to 15-minute chair massage. Here is what the studies have found:

  1. Reduces stress
    This should not come as a surprise. Clients who participated in this study had their stress levels tested before and after the massage. The findings revealed that there was an 85% reduction in stress after a 15-minute chair massage. 
  2. Decreases anxiety and depression
    One of the notable benefits of office massage is that massage reduces anxiety by 26% and depression scores improve by 28% after the massage.
  3. Relieves muscle tension and pain
    Back pain is cut in half with regular 15-minute corporate chair massage sessions. A 48% reduction in pain was noted in the studies on back pain and tension.
  4. Improves quality of sleep
    Over multiple studies, the average improvement in sleep quality was 28%. That includes increased sleep duration as well as fewer sleep disturbances. 
  5. Relieves headaches
    Headaches are decreased by an average of 48% in duration and intensity with regular onsite massage. 
  6. Lowers Blood Pressure
    This is an important one; one of the leading causes of illnesses in America is hypertension and heart disease. Massage therapy is proven time and time again to lower blood pressure naturally. Across multiple studies, the average decrease in blood pressure is 6%. That may not sound like a lot, but that is the difference between a hypertensive blood pressure and a normal blood pressure. Additionally, these studies clearly show the effects are lasting as the massage groups in studies continued to have lower blood pressure than the non-massage groups in the studies. 
  7. Prevents repetitive strain injuries
    As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I have worked in the corporate world for a number of years. During my time in this environment, I met a number of coworkers with carpal tunnel syndrome. This is just one example of a repetitive stress injury. Across these studies, weekly chair massage reduces the occurrence of repetitive stress injuries by 37%. This translate to less absenteeism and lowered insurance premiums for employers.
  8. Increases immune function
    In studies, the immune system of the groups who received chair massage performed at a rate of 35% higher than the group that did not receive regular chair massage. This also leads to less absenteeism as employees aren't getting sick as frequently.  
  9. Increases focus, productivity, and mental clarity
    After a 15-minute chair massage, studies show employees have increased alertness, speed, and accuracy on math computations.
  10. Workplace massage creates a wholesome work environment
    Business management 101 tells us that employees who feel valued in the workplace are more likely to be engaged in their work and have longevity in their career. What a better way to show your employees that they are valued than having an in office massage therapist? This inexpensive and preventative measure is a win-win for both employers and employees.
    Recently, a chair massage client shared some feedback with me, "Our employees always mark massage day on their calendars and constantly mention how much they appreciate the program and look forward to coming into work on that day in particular."
    I hear this same feedback from every workplace massage client I have.  

If you would like more information on setting up a workplace massage program, please contact me at darcyblainelmt@gmail.com 

 

 

Benefits of Sports Massage

My town of residence, Reno, Nevada, was recently named the 2nd fittest city in the nation! Congratulations, Reno! 

With the arrival of spring in Reno/Tahoe comes training for athletic events, such as marathons, cycling events, and triathlons. Sports massage is an important part of an overall wellness routine designed specifically for athletes.    

Sports massage improves athletic performance, reduces pain due to overuse, prevents injury, and shortens recovery time. You may not realize it, but massage therapy affects the cardiovascular system. It dilates blood vessels, which helps them work more efficiently to promote circulation to the muscles and connective tissue. The assistance of encouraging blood flow back to the heart enhances blood flow, which delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and promotes the removal of waste products that build up in the muscles, such as lactic acid.

This increased and enhanced blood flow helps to relieve muscle tension, reduce soreness, and shortens recovery time. Then, the relaxed muscles experience an increase in range of motion and flexibility. Both of these benefits lead to enhanced athletic performance.

If you are an athlete looking for a qualified sports massage therapist, be sure to look for a licensed massage therapist with the designation, "LMT" after their name and their license number posted on any marketing materials. The best way to find a qualified therapist is to ask others who participate in your sporting activity. Word-of-mouth recommendations are typically the best referrals. 

Used as a preventative measure or to address pain and assist in recovery, sports massage is an essential weapon in your training arsenal. Massage therapy has the added bonus of helping you feel relaxed and feel physically and psychologically better, benefits that even the non-athlete enjoys. 

Darcy Blaine, LMT (NVMT# 7593)          

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients

Cancer patients go though a lot of physical, emotional, and psychological trauma which can quickly become overwhelming. Recent medical research shows that massage therapy has multiple benefits for cancer patients. While medication and chemotherapy help with internally treating cancer, massage therapy provides a holistic way of enhancing the benefits of other forms of medical treatment. Massage therapy offers short and long-term benefits to cancer patients.

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients:

Reduces Stress - By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, massage therapy effectively combats the stress hormones coursing though the body as a result of the emotional and physical issues faced during cancer treatment. Stress is a major underlying cause of illness and prevents the body from healing to its full potential. 

Increases Blood Circulation - Massage therapy increases blood flow throughout the body, helping cancer patients respond faster to medication and chemotherapy. When circulation improves, the body creates an abundance of white blood cells, helping cancer patients recover more quickly. 

Pain Reduction - Research has proven that cancer patients who receive massage therapy treatments are more likely to have a reduction in pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms. 

Reduced Edema - Typically, cancer patients experience edema (swelling and accumulation of water) as a result of medication and nerve debilitation that occurs during cancer treatment. Massage therapy greatly reduces edema by increasing lymphatic circulation.

Improves Mood - Cancer patients are faced with many thoughts and feelings which can lead to depression and anxiety. Massage therapy assists in relaxing the mind, giving cancer patients an opportunity relax and clear any negativity.

Improves Sleep - With the anxiety and discomfort of cancer, getting quality sleep becomes a factor. They body simply cannot heal and restore without enough sleep. Cancer patients see an improvement in sleep patterns once the mind and body become more relaxed through massage therapy treatments. 

Overall Wellness - Massage therapy has the capability of helping cancer patients get back to a place of overall wellness by bringing about an overall improvement in the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of life.    

    

This blog is inspired by my brave clients who are currently undergoing cancer treatment. I admire your courage and strength.

Darcy Blaine, LMT
(NVMT# 7593)

A Hug A Day Keeps Infection Away

A recent article from Dr. Mercola speaks to the value of hugging to avoid infection. As a massage therapist, I immediately related getting more hugs to the value of getting more massage! 

A quote from Dr. Mercola's article: 

"It’s been shown that people who are under stress and in conflict with others are more susceptible to viruses like the common cold. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University set out to determine whether social support, as gauged by hugging, might in turn be protective against such infections. It turns out their hypothesis was right. Among 404 adults, those who had greater social support and more frequent hugs during conflicts were less likely to “catch” a cold after they were exposed to the virus. The hugs, researchers said, were responsible for about one-third of the protective effect."

According to the study:

This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress…

The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy… Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.”

What are the benefits of a 10-second hug per day?

Hugging increases the levels of the bonding hormone, oxytocin. Elevated levels of oxytocin in the body have been proven to have beneficial effects on heart health and the immune system. Studies have shown that hugging lowers blood pressure and reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate. Research suggests there’s even more to it than that.

As reported by Mail Online: 

The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centers called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve winds its way through the body and is connected to a number of organs, including the heart. It is also connected to oxytocin receptors. One theory is that stimulation of the vagus triggers an increase in oxytocin, which in turn leads to the cascade of health benefits.”

Later in his article, Dr. Mercola goes on to say that that alternatives to hugs such as massage therapy have similar value. He states that a hug must last at least 10 seconds to have the maximum benefit. Massage therapy sessions last a lot longer than that! 

Add a weekly, biweekly, or monthly massage to your daily hugs and we will all be on our way to superior health!   

See the full article here.

Darcy Blaine, LMT
(NVMT# 7593)

Resources:
http://goo.gl/Jvv8Il
http://goo.gl/0C9aFG
 

Massage: It's Good Medicine

massage.jpeg

Having a friend or significant other massage your shoulders at the end of a long day is a nice treat, but it's tough to compete with the hands of a competent professional.  A trained and highly skilled massage therapist can make you feel like a brand new person.  Research even suggests that therapeutic massage can ease insomnia, depression, anxiety, boost immunity, and so much more.  Perhaps this is why hospitals, hospices, and other health care facilities are making massage therapy a standard practice. 

"All of our surgery patients are offered the treatment -- I call it 'service with a smile' -- and it's a mandatory weekly prescription I give myself," says Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

It's OK to throughly enjoy your hands on time with your friend or significant other, but be sure to set aside some time aside for a professional massage as well.  Here are some compelling reasons why:

Say Farewell to Pain

Therapeutic massage is especially effective for treating specific areas of pain, such as the low back.  Research has found that massage is even more effective in reducing pain as compared to other common treatments like chiropractic and acupuncture.  These studies show that massage therapy reduces levels the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, while boosting the feel-good hormones oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine.  These changes slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and block your nervous system's pain receptors.  Massage also increases blood flow to the muscles, which helps them heal by returning the oxygen and nutrients that tight muscles and surrounding tissue have been deprived of.  As an added bonus, massage eases distress from migraines, labor pains, PMS, and even cancer, as well as the body tenderness associated with Fibromyalgia.  These benefits have been shown to last as long as a year after just a few treatments.  

Awaken Your Dreams

Fluctuations in several types of brain waves either relax you or wake you up.  Massage increases delta waves, which are linked to deep sleep.  This is why it's so easy to drift off on the massage table.  Part of overcoming insomnia is breaking the long-held cycles or habits of the body.  Massage can help break these patterns by activating the parasympathetic nervous system designed for relaxation and sleep.  As a result of this adjustment, the sympathetic nervous system designed for stress (fight or flight) is turned off.   Looking at the chemistry of sleep, the effect massage has on this chemistry provides a solid link between massage therapy and insomnia treatment.  Massage is an intelligent, healthy and substance free choice to help the scores of people that have insomnia.

Boost Your Immune System

Massage helps ward off colds and viruses by increasing the level of natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell) within the body.  These natural killer cells are the immune system's first line of defense against an invading illness.  Cortisol destroys natural killer cells, and since massage decreases levels of cortisol, your immune system gets a nice boost.  Studies have shown massage even increases immunity in individuals with severely compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients.   

Beat the Blues

Less adrenaline and cortisol along with more oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin in the body mean less depression, anxiety and stress.  Decreasing pain and muscle tension also improves physical and mental health.  The well-being people feel after a massage is a big reason hospitals offer it to anxious patients preparing for surgery or chemotherapy.  Massage bridges the gap between the mind and the body.  A relaxed body translates to a relaxed mind.  

 

Resources:

http://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/2687

http://www.amtamassage.org/uploads/cms/documents/CE-Cancer-MT.pdf

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=747036&resultClick=3

http://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/1839

http://www.ijtmb.org/index.php/ijtmb/article/view/30

 

 

 

 

 

What to Expect at Your First Massage

This outlines what to expect in a massage session at my private practice.  The experience may be different in other environments.

Before your session 

Make sure this is a good time for you to receive a massage.  Reschedule your appointment if you have a fever or skin irritations (such as sunburn or poison oak).  In the days before your massage, drink plenty of water to keep your soft tissue hydrated.  Don't eat a large meal immediately before your massage.  Give yourself enough time to arrive on time and relaxed.

Health History

Your first appointment will begin with an intake process starting with your health history.  Plan to arrive to your session approximately 10 minutes early to fill out an intake form.  The intake form will ask about medical concerns, areas of concern, what helps reduce pain for you and what makes it worse, contact information, and any health goals you may have.

I will review your intake form and ask questions to better design a session tailored to meet your specific needs.  I will ask what areas of the body you would like focused work on, and if there are areas you would like for me to avoid.  Don't be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns.  All information you provide is completely confidential.

During the Massage

You will lie on the massage table covered by a sheet and blanket, with a pillow supporting your legs for added comfort.  I will check in with you to make sure you're comfortable before we begin.  Be sure to let me know if you're cold, don't like the music, or are experiencing discomfort with the technique being used.  Remember, this is your session.  You are in charge and can ask for changes or stop the session at any time.

Draping

Extremely modest draping will be used ensuring no part of the body is exposed that should not be.  Only the area currently being worked will be undraped, and then re-draped when moving along to the next body part. 

Music

You can request any music selection to suit your mood.  If you prefer silence, that is an option as well.

How to Get the Most From Your Massage

Be open as to the process as you can.

Relax and breathe into the massage, especially when areas of tension are being massaged.

Communicate with me.  If something feels great, let me know and I will focus on that area a little longer.  If the technique is not allowing you to relax your muscles, let me know and I can adjust for you.

After the Massage

At the end of the massage I will leave the room allowing you to regroup for as long as you need before getting up from the table.  If you feel light headed, please take your time and know there's no rush.  

I will offer you a glass of water after the massage to help flush the toxins that were released from the muscles during the massage session.  It's a great idea to consume plenty of water after you leave the office as well.  This will continue to flush out toxins and alleviate any soreness after the massage.  I suggest avoiding alcohol immediately after your massage as this will only increase any soreness you feel the next day.

The benefits of massage are cumulative, so typically you will feel even better as you continue to receive massages. 

Common Questions

I have to head back to the office after my massage.  Will the massage oil ruin my hair, clothes and makeup?  Just communicate with me and let me know.  I will design the session so that the scalp and face are avoided.  I can also provide a warm towel after the massage to remove any of the lotions used during the session.

Can I bring my own music?  Of course!  I can play any music you like from your iPod or from my Spotify player.  If bringing your own music, make sure the playlist will last the duration of the massage session.

Is it common to feel emotional during a massage?  Sometimes the safe touch, the music, dates that are linked to events, aromatherapy, or the scent from the massage lotion being used can bring up feelings.  The body can react by crying, laughing, shivering, sweating, or some combination thereof.  I will check in with you to see if any adjustments need to be made to the massage technique, the music, the table warmer or if you would like to continue with the massage.

Is it OK to talk during the massage?  Yes, it's completely OK to talk, but you may receive more benefit from the massage if you allow yourself to let go of your everyday worries and concerns during the treatment.  If you are nervous about the process of receiving massage and need to talk, I completely understand.  I will be staying in contact with you during the session to monitor your level of comfort with the amount of pressure and technique being used.

What if I'm embarrassed about my body?  I am very sensitive to possible client issues with touch and am completely non-judgmental about your body weight, amount of hair, skin conditions, scars, disabilities, medical conditions, or personal history of trauma.     

Darcy Blaine, CMT