This post was inspired by a recent conversation in my clinic ...
What kids get out of massage is more than you ever imagined!
I periodically get to experience the joy of treating kids in my clinic ... it's not just because I love my career or because I love kids and their honest enthusiasm that brings be such joy, but the knowledge that what I am doing is helping them learn so many bigger things.
You may book a massage for you kids because it's a fun treat, or because they have asked you why you go for massage, or because they have maybe complained about some aches and pains ... but here is what you are actually teaching them by bringing them into my clinic ..
Aches & Pains
You are doing all the right things … eating to nourish your body, getting enough rest, moving your body every day, taking care of you. You even have your next massage (or 2 or 3) booked.
So what do you do when aches & pains pop up in between treatments?
Well first of all you can always call and try to get in earlier for you next massage treatment, nothing is ever set-in stone even if the appointment has been booked for months.
If this is not an option, here are some things to try once you determine what type of pain you are dealing with.
First … if the pain is related to an acute injury (sprains, strains, fall, contusion) pull the ice pack out of the freezer and RICE (rest ice compression elevate), particularly in the first couple of days after injury … this will help to minimize swelling, bruising, and inflammation.
If you don’t have an injury ice pack that lives in your freezer like I do, try a bag of frozen peas ... they work amazing because they easily contour around the injured area, just make sure you don’t accidentally cook them for dinner later lol.
Second … if the pain is related to muscle tension, then here are some options for you to try …
These all become your tools to manage aches and pains at home between regular massage treatments.
As you try each of these tools, you will probably find a couple that work well for you and some that don’t. Make sure to keep the ones that work handy so that they are available right when you need help.
Keep in mind that what works for the “knot” in your back may not work for your tight hamstrings … and what works for me might not work for you.
But more often than not when we are in pain, anything that helps is better than nothing.
Do you have a favourite way to manage aches and pains between regular massage treatments?
Share your favourites in the comments below.
Essential Essential Oils
Essential oils have been used throughout history for their aromas as well as their effect on the body.
And they have been essential in my home for years now.
My passion started when I took the intro to essential oils course offered by Alypsis here in Peterborough. After 2 full days I left with a book full of notes, a brain exploding with ideas, and a rapidly expanding list of oils that I had to have!
So how do I use essential oils?
Diffused, rollerballs, skin care, massage oils, inhaler tubes, and baths are the main ways we use essential oils; but we do use them in disinfectant spray, deodorizing spray, and hand sanitizer from time to time.
When applied topically, essential oils are absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream where they migrate to the organ they need to go to (or the organ system the oil has an affinity for); they can also have an effect directly on the skin. Inhaled essential oils are absorbed through the respiratory tract and into the blood stream; however inhaled oils will not only work physically in or on the body, but also as an emotional connection through the limbic system … think the smell of warm cookies baking makes you remember baking with your mom as a kid and all the warm gooey emotions that come with that.
Often when you apply oils to your skin you get a combination of the inhaled and absorbed benefits ... as long as you can smell it you are inhaling it.
One of my favorite ways to use essential oils every day is through my rollerball blends.
Try this … roll a blend on the palm of your hands (absorbed), rub you hand together then cup them over your nose and mouth, take 5 deep breaths slowly inhaling and exhaling (inhaled). This covers all the ways you can benefit from the oils and can quickly bring a sense of calm when used with a relaxing or stress relief oil blend.
An alternate is to roll your blend under your jaw line, on your neck, behind your ears … as the oil warms with you body, you will be able to smell it (inhaled) in addition to the oil being absorbed through your skin.
Diffusing essential oils in your space is a wonderful way to enjoy the smell and the benefits all day. I usually run something in our diffusers every day (yes, we have multiple in the house). One thing to note when you diffuse essential oils … only diffuse straight essential oils, not ones that are blended with a carrier oil, or it will just gunk up your diffuser.
What are my most used Essential Oils?
This was a little tricky for me to narrow down as I currently have 46 individual essential oils and 14 blends (purchased blends not including the ones that I have made), but even out of all of that there are a main set of oils that I am always running out of.
So here you go, these are my most used individual oils …
Want to know why these are my most used oils?
Next post I will delve into all of the reasons why I use each of these oils along with my most use rollerball blend!
Karooch oils are from Alypsis in Peterborough Ontario. Check out their website for their full range of Essential Oils, Carrier oils, containers and more.
*note I’m not affiliated with Alypsis in any way ...
I simply love their products, staff, and workshops!
Hands up … who has ever been told they have bad posture?
Is your hand up? Because mine is, and I have to tell you, I’m not really a fan of my posture being judged as bad or good by anyone.
Posture is defined as “the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting”. This definition doesn’t actually give us a start point to qualify good vs bad, it’s just a position.
So maybe we need to look at posture as efficient or inefficient vs good or bad.
Efficient posture, would be the ability to hold or move your body in a way that puts the least amount of strain on supporting muscles and ligaments; as well as the ability to move into and out of any position easily and without discomfort. Efficient posture is very dynamic, allowing for minor corrections and adjustments by core supporting muscles to create balance.
Inefficient posture, would be the inability to move out of one posture into another (not being able to stand in tall neutral alignment from being hunched forward); also included in this would be the “it hurts to sit up straight” and discomfort or pain when moving into or out of a posture. Inefficient posture is often static, meaning that certain muscles don’t have to work at all to maintain the posture which in the long term means those muscles weaken.
Inefficient posture comes from a combination of weak and tight muscles, and placing your body long term in positions of great load. Weak muscles simply don’t have the strength and endurance to hold against the pull of gravity and tight muscles restrict your range of motion and flexibility.
We all fall victim to inefficient posture at one point or another, but the more time we spend in these positions, the harder it becomes to straighten up into a neutral posture and move without discomfort.
So, what exactly does neutral posture look like?
Standing, with your torso in a neutral position (neither flexed or extended), your ears sit above your shoulders, shoulders above hips; chin parallel to the ground; arms by your sides, palms facing thighs, shoulder blades retracted (flat against your ribs), elbows hanging just behind your midline; spine elongated, shoulders symmetrical, chest open; core muscles engage to form a natural corset; knees under hips, ankles under knees.
Sitting is virtually the same until you get to the hips. Ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips; chin parallel to the floor; shoulder blades retracted back (flat against your ribs) so that elbows sit at your midline or just behind; pelvis in neutral alignment, tailbone tucked under, no anterior/forward tilt; weight evenly distributed on sits bones (ischial tuberosity); knees bent at slightly greater than 90o; ankles under knees, feet flat on floor.
Remember, as soon as you shift forward or back you increase the work load on one set of muscles over another, which can lead to muscle fatigue and often pain or discomfort. Prolonged periods in these postures will ultimately lead to inefficient posture … some muscle groups having to over work to keep you upright, rather than all muscles working together in balance.
Efficient posture can take a little work and practice in the beginning, (you will most definitely find muscles you had long forgotten about) but trust me when I say that the effort is entirely worth it!
The first step is becoming more aware of what your posture actually looks and feels like. Second is regular posture checks. And the third step is correcting the muscles imbalances that prevent you from achieving truly efficient posture.
*stay tuned for Postural Imbalances 1 and Postural Imbalances 2
A holistic approach to massage therapy
From the beginning of my RMT education we were taught to approach massage from the stand point of ‘you have ailment x, so I will use treatment x’, which totally works if all you are looking for is treatment for a specific issue.
What 19 years in the profession, plus continued learning, has taught me is that rarely does anyone come in to my clinic with ‘just one issue’, not to mention the fact that we have an epidemic of chronic stress happening.
In order to provide effective treatment to clients I needed to shift my thinking to what they are experiencing on the whole.
Where are their aches & pains; what is the cause of aches and pains; what is their stress level; how do they handle stress; where do they feel their stress/emotions; how are they feeling emotionally; how is their sleep; what is there energy level like; etc.
So, while we used to talk about a ‘therapeutic massage treatment’ vs a ‘relaxation massage treatment’, I came to realize that all of my therapeutic treatments had to have a relaxation component, and all of my relaxation treatments inevitably have a therapeutic component.
In trying to better articulate how I treat clients, I stumbled across the word holistic.
Holistic is “characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease”, according to the oxford dictionary.
The other definition also fits, “characterized by comprehension of the parts of something [someone] as intimately interconnected and explicably only by reference to the whole.”
Intimately interconnected … such beautiful words to describe how the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels of our beings are inseparable from one another.
With these words in mind the term ‘Holistic Massage Therapy’ began to roll around in my head, and my heart.
I realized that this was actually the approach I have been using to treat clients for a while now, I just didn’t have the words to articulate it.
To put it all together for you … holistic massage therapy is a therapeutic massage that affects the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing of the body to optimise health and wellness.
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
When is your next massage going to be?
Brien-anne RMT, CA
I am passionate not only about Massage Therapy & Aromatherapy, but also living a holistic lifestyle and empowering others to do the same!