ache

Get the most of your next session by adding a scent

Roses. Fresh-cut grass. Your mother’s perfume. Mint. An orange being peeled.

These are smells many of us can imagine. Whether good or bad in our minds, smells can take us back to an event in time and provoke emotion. They can wake us up – or relax us. And that’s what’s at work behind aromatherapy.

“Fragrance is processed in an area of the brain that also processes memory and emotion,” says Mindy Green, co-author of Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art and owner of botanicals consulting company Green Scentsations.

“It’s a lock-and-key system,” adds Kathy Padecky, certified massage therapist and instructor at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. “You can smell a scent and immediately feel an emotion.”

Aromatherapy and Its History

It’s important to note that aromatherapy isn’t just about any smell, Green says. A number of perfumed products on the market, she says, have diluted the reputation of aromatherapy – and given consumers the wrong impression.

“True aromatherapy is only gained by essential oils derived from nature,” she says. “You might find a fragrance that smells nice and even evokes a memory, but you don’t get the same therapeutic effect from a synthetic.”

So, what are essential oils? They’re complex mixtures of chemical compounds found in aromatic plants, writes Anne Williams, author of Spa Bodywork: A Guide for Massage Therapists. Specialized structures that store essential oils are found in leaves, needles, twigs, bark, heartwood, flowers, fruits, stems, roots, flowering tops, zests and peels.

While plants have been used as medicine since early civilizations, modern aromatherapy owes its beginning to French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé. Already familiar with chemicals because of his exposure to his family’s perfumery business, he began experimenting with oils to heal wounds, later coining the term aromatherapy.

The Benefits and Caveats

Essential oils have various uses. “For example, some essential oils are topical analgesics,” Williams writes. “When they are applied to soft tissue they decrease sensations of pain. Oils like lavender, Roman or German chamomile, and sweet marjoram sedate the body and decrease stress because they stimulate an area of the brain which causes the release of serotonin.”

During a massage, an oil like lavender can help you relax in order to maximize the effects of your massage. And at the end of a massage, a stimulating oil might be used to help you wake up.

But, Green warns, not all scents are for everyone.

“Everybody has different scent perceptions,” she says. So, if you favor a certain scent over another, go with your preference. Something you dislike may not relax you just because it relaxes someone else.

And, Padecky notes, pregnant women are advised not to use aromatherapy, particularly during the first trimester. In addition, people with allergies or asthma may find triggers in certain oils and should be cautious. Plus, some oils, such as citrus oils, can make skin particularly sensitive to the sun.

For most people, however, aromatherapy has tremendous therapeutic benefits especially when
combined with a massage therapy session. “The whole premise of taking a deep breath and slowing down is part of meditation,” Green says. “Then, you add that to inhaling something you find pleasant, and stress just melts away.”

Advertisements

ME Arthritis Charity Event: Healing Hands for Arthritis

One in five adults live with arthritis. Take a look at this video and help us at Massage Envy support the fight as we donate $10 from every one-hour massage and facial on October 12 — World Arthritis Day — to the Arthritis Foundation.

The Arthritis Foundation encourages people with arthritis to be active participants in managing their disease. The Foundation’s vision is simply, “A world free from arthritis pain.” Massage therapy is recognized as being effective in relieving painful symptoms of arthritis and fibromyalgia, improving circulation, increasing joint flexibility, lessening depression and anxiety, improving sleep, and providing an overall sense of well-being. Massage Envy and the Arthritis Foundation share a common understanding of a serious problem and the opportunities for common solutions.

To schedule an appointment and join in the fight against arthritis at a Massage Envy clinic nearest you, please visit MassageEnvy.com. For more information about arthritis or the Arthritis Foundation, please visit Arthritis.org.

6 Easy Mood Boosters

1. Make a gratitude list.

“The most effective way I know of to shake a bad mood is to brainstorm everything possible that you’re grateful for and write it down,” says Amy Wood, PsyD, author of Life Your Way. She suggests starting with broad strokes, like being thankful the sun is shining or that you’re breathing. “You’ll find that once you get the ball rolling, more and more ideas will come to you. Studies actually show that it’s impossible to feel gratitude and unhappiness simultaneously. That’s why this strategy works so well, and so quickly!”

2. Practice mindfulness.

“If you’re in a slump, you may also be stuck ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Both of these thoughts are nonproductive,” says Simon Rego, PsyD, director of Psychology Training at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Instead, he suggests practicing mindfulness, which involves being present in the moment without judgment. “Try taking five minutes and eating your meal in a mindful way, paying attention to how it looks, smells and tastes with each bite, before swallowing it. Or take a quick mindful walk, considering the sights, smells, sounds and temperature with each step.” By focusing on the present, you’re less likely to dwell on the outside circumstances that are making you unhappy.

3. Practice a random act of kindness.

According to Dr. Rego, doing nice things for other people will make you feel good about yourself. Try holding a door open for someone else, offering a compliment or smiling at a stranger. These acts of kindness lead to positive thinking about yourself, and usually garner a positive response, like “thank you,” which can easily put a smile on your face, he says.

4. Have A Laugh

“Set up a YouTube channel with your favorite comedy sketches and comedians,” suggests Cory Bank, PhD, founder of StompStressAway.com. “Have it saved so that if you’re in a bad mood you can take a three-minute break and infuse some humor into your day.” Belly laughter will make your endorphins kick in within minutes. Plus, he notes, “you’ll feel better when you take a short break from your day-to-day reality.”

5. Eat An Orange

According to celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, foods packed with vitamin C, like citrus fruits, green peppers and broccoli, are proven to cheer you up. In fact, a study published in a 2010 edition of Nutrition found that vitamin C therapy can help improve the moods of patients who are hospitalized for long-term or critical care. Dr. Sams also stresses the importance of vitamin C (as well as other antioxidants, like vitamins A and E) when it comes to boosting your mood because it helps stabilize free radicals in the body, which are known to accelerate aging and increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. When these highly reactive atoms are neutralized, it prevents them from also damaging brain cells, resulting in better health and improved mood.

6. Just Breathe

Sure, we do this all day long, but breathing in a certain way has the power to relax us as well as lift us out of a slump. Dr. Sams is an advocate of diaphragmatic breathing. “Take a five-count breath in, and a five-count breath out. The goal is to manage your breath, instead of having your breath manage you.” When you breathe into your diaphragm as opposed to just your chest, which many of us do when we’re feeling stressed, you will absorb a lot more oxygen into your system. “Our brains thrive on oxygen—it’s very powerful in boosting your mood.”

Schedule Your Massage Today At One Of Our 11 Locations!

Benefits of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy doesn’t just smell good, it can also benefit you in many ways. Some common aromatherapy benefits include:

  • Relaxation and stress relief
  • Mood enhancement, balance and well being
  • Boosting the immune, respiratory and circulatory systems
  • Relief of minor discomforts

Aromatherapy is a great, natural compliment or alternative to other health treatment options such as certain prescribed medications. However, aromatherapy doesn’t “cure” major illnesses but it is effective at alleviating many of the discomforts associated with them. Essential oilsare the heart of aromatherapy. They have been used to:

  • Heal wounds
  • Improve skin tone
  • Regulate hormones
  • Relieve menstrual cramps
  • Decrease congestion
  • Relieve tension headaches
  • Energize
  • Relax muscles
  • Improve sleep
  • Kill fungal & bacterial infections

Check Out Our New Spa Location In Clermont!

GRAND OPENING JUNE 15TH!

Our newest spa location is opening just in time for Father’s Day! Located at in Clermont! For more information, directions and phone numbers visit us online at: http://www.massageenvy.com/

Hot Stone Envy

Discover the benefits of Hot Stone Therapy with Hot Stone Envy, one of Massage Envy’s new Signature Services.

Hot Stone Therapy melts away tension, eases muscle stiffness, and increases circulation and metabolism. Each 90 minute Hot Stone session features the placement of smooth, water-heated stones at key points on the body to allow for deeper relaxation of the muscles. Our professional massage therapists then incorporate a customized massage, with the use of hot stones, to create a healing and relaxing experience.

 

Hot Stone Therapy is ideal for:

  • Muscular aches
  • Back pain
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Poor circulation
  • Rheumatic and arthritic conditions
  • Fibromyalgia

Hot Stone Therapy is gaining popularity for its ability to provide deeper muscle and tissue relaxation, which in turn releases more toxins and improves circulation. The benefits of Hot Stone Therapy have even been used in the treatment of insomnia and depression.

Experience the calming, soothing benefits of Hot Stone Envy today, at Massage Envy.

Some Q & A

Massage Envy experts answer your questions

Q: How does receiving massage help reduce stress?

A: We all know that certain types of constant stress in our lives are not healthy. But did you know that recent evidence indicates the physical changes associated with stress may contribute to the leading causes of death – heart disease and cancer. In addition, stress can create and/or exacerbate many physical and emotional conditions such as chronic fatigue, digestive upset, headaches, back pain, high blood pressure and risk of stroke.

A recent study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recruited 53 healthy adults and assigned them to receive deep tissue, Swedish and light touch massage. Blood samples were taken immediately before the massage and up to an hour afterward. The researchers found that a single session of massage caused biological changes.

Volunteers showed significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They also had increases in white blood cells that are part of the immune system. Volunteers experienced greater increases in a hormone associated with contentment and bigger decreases in adrenal hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol. While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, higher and prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, such as those associated with chronic stress, have been shown to have negative effects. What this study shows is that receiving massage actually activates the body on an internal level to respond and correct the physiological imbalance caused by our stressful lives.

– C.G. Funk, Licensed Massage Therapist and Vice President of Industry
Relations and Product Development for Massage Envy

ME Magazine: Ease your Headache

As if your day weren’t full enough, here it comes — the unwelcome intrusion of a headache. It might be the vise grip of a tension headache, the pressure and ache of sinus pain, or the throbbing pain and nausea of a migraine. But you want it gone.

Before you simply pop a pill, “Take a step back and ask, ‘Why am I getting this headache?’ ” says Tara C. Sharma, M.D., board member of the American Association of Integrative Medicine.

Create friendly Head Space

Headaches can be a wake-up call from your body, inviting you to pay more attention to taking care of yourself. “Making yourself a priority isn’t selfish,” Dr. Sharma says. “It’s an investment in your well-being.”

Arrange the rhythms of your day to make room for regular meals and adequate rest since hunger and tiredness trigger headaches. And keep your mind and body on speaking terms through enjoyable exercise and relaxing rituals. Practice yoga, take an evening bath or, like Dr. Sharma, get a weekly massage.

Even a single massage may boost your body’s immune response, suggests a 2010 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Fewer colds can mean fewer sinus infections and headaches.

Ease the Ache

When a headache does come calling, how do you chase it away? Since overuse of medication can trigger rebound headaches, consider these tips:

  1. Try a little do-it-yourself acupressure. Press your thumb into the web between your opposite thumb and index finger. Hold for 30 to 40 seconds to relieve headache pain. Repeat on the other side.
  2. Steam away sinus pain and pressure. Put a few drops of eucalyptus and tea tree oil in a bowl of boiling water and breathe in the steam to relieve congestion.
  3. Breathe. Slow, deep breaths short-circuit the fight-or-flight stress response and activate the calming effects of the parasympathetic nervous system, Dr. Sharma explains.

“The jungle out there is not going to change,” Dr. Sharma says. “It’s how you respond to stress that makes a difference.”

– By Teresa Caldwell Board

Massage and Exercising

Whether you’re just starting to exercise or you’ve been at it for years, you may be sore after hitting the gym. Massage can relieve muscle soreness and inflammation that can occur as the result of exercising.

Massage is also beneficial in improving flexibility and range of motion, which can actually help you perform better and make your body less prone to injury at the gym. Looser muscles, joints and tendons are less likely to snap under pressure. Massage helps stimulate the production of the body’s natural joint lubricants, making stretching and movement in general easier.