massage therapy

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.”

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Relieve Tired Eyes

Finally, you have a great night’s sleep and feel relaxed and rejuvenated. You start your morning routine, look in the mirror and notice that those annoying dark circles are still there. We know how frustrating this can be. But it’s important to remember that the skin around your eyes is very delicate. One night of restful sleep may not do the trick. So, we called upon the skincare experts at Murad® to learn more about dark circles and how to prevent them.

The skin around the eyes is fragile, and readily shows the signs of age, fatigue and stress. The tissue is thinner, water evaporation is rapid and the collagen and elastin fibers are less numerous. In addition, the eye area has few (if any) oil-producing glands, so it requires intense hydration that my not be appropriate for the rest of your face.

Although some dark circles are genetic, you can reduce their appearance by getting plenty of sleep and keeping your body hydrated by eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables on daily basis.

You can also relieve tired eyes with products that contain wild yam and soybean to increase firmness, caffeine and light refractors to minimize puffiness and chamomile extract to calm and soothe.

Most importantly, take time to relax! Sleep and relaxation are key to keeping your eyes looking refreshed and youthful. Try taking a hot bath before bed and make sure to shut off all distractions (television, Smartphone and computers) an hour before you turn in for the night.

At all Massage Envy Spa clinics, we offer four different Murad® Healthy Skin facials, as well as an array of Murad® skincare products. To determine what treatment is best for your skin, visit http://www.massageenvy.com/facials.

Massage the Pain Away

One of the reasons many of us turn to massage therapy is to heal and help manage pain, including chronic pain such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the effectiveness of massage lies in a simple and direct strategy: working from the external, outer mechanisms of pain to the primary, root cause.

From backaches and shoulder pain to leg cramps and muscle spasms, massage can help. We turned to our own C.G. Funk, Licensed Massage Therapist and Vice President of Industry Relations and Product Development for Massage Envy, to give us the scoop.

Proper Posture

Many aches and pains are due to poor posture. With a consistent program of massage therapy, the painful points in muscles are loosened and relaxed, joints have greater freedom, and pressure points are relieved. This allows the body to position itself in a healthy and natural posture, therefore avoiding the movements and positions developed over time as a reaction to the pain.

Tense Muscles

Massage therapy flushes lactic acid from the muscles and improves the circulation of the lymph fluid that carries metabolic waste away from muscles and internal organs, resulting in lower blood pressure and improved body function.

Flexibility

By working on muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and joints, massage can stimulate the production and retention of our bodies’ natural lubricants between the connective tissue fibers, making stretching and movement easier, and keeping the body flexible.

Pain Management

Especially when nursing an injury back to full strength, increasing circulation and relaxing muscles helps the body pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs. This allows the rehabilitating areas to become more flexible and heal at an accelerated rate.

Visit Massage Envy’s Touch of Wellness Blog or http://www.massageenvy.com/ to learn more.

Keeping Active this Fall- it’s easy!

From our Massage Envy Touch of Wellness Blog, we bring you our top 10 tricks and tips for keeping active even as summer passes by and we become preoccupied with the upcoming holidays and stress of everyday tasks.
Do your best to follow a personalized fitness plan daily and you’ll see results!
1.     Find what you love. Whether it’s clearing your thoughts during a long run or dancing the night away in a Zumba class.
2.     Make fitness a priority. Like paying bills and doing laundry, working out should be considered an important priority. Not something you do every once and a while.
3.     Run (or walk) an errand. Leave the car behind. Try running your errands on foot, or bike instead.
4.     Grab a friend or family member and catch up on a long walk instead of via e-mail or phone.
5.     Don’t forget, doing chores around the house burns lots of calories. Great way to kill two birds with one stone!
6.     Have an hour lunch break? Take advantage and squeeze 30 minutes of walking in. It will feel good to stretch your legs mid-day.
7.     Track your progress. It’s important to note major milestones, like your first 3-mile run or the half-day hike you conquered.
8.     Be proud of your accomplishments and share them with family and friends. That extra motivation will keep you going.
9.     Switch it up. Don’t let fitness get boring. Find a variety of activities that get you moving and feeling good.
10. Baby steps. It takes time to work up to your fitness goals. Stay positive and stick to your healthy living routine.

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.

Vibrant Skin from the Inside Out

Like the average American, do you tend to wake up around 6am every morning in order to run around prepping lunch boxes, speeding to work, gulping down coffee, bringing kids to practices, and walking the dog until 11pm rolls around and you plop into bed exhausted?

Life can be stressful and busy, but with the right balance of sleep, exercise, stress management and diet, you can learn a few simple steps that will rejuvenate your skin making you look and feel better!

According to Dr. Murad, your skin is connected to every one of your organs. By making your body healthy, you make your skin healthy. “Topical skincare addresses approximately 20 percent of the skin, the epidermis. The remaining 80 percent, the dermis, responds by feeding the skin from the inside,” says Dr. Murad. “Eating a diet rich in raw fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, such as those found in nuts and olive oil, will promote healthy, hydrated cells.”

At the same time, a regular exercise routine can benefit your waistline as well as your skin– “Exercise builds muscle and attracts water to our cells,” Dr. Murad says.

Also, sleep deprivation may cause skin to appear sallow and dry, so getting your ideal amount of sleep is extremely important. Remember that everybody requires a different amount of sleep (for adults, it’s usually between 7-9 hours).

Lastly, environmental factors play a huge part in the health of your skin. We’ve all been lectured about the importance of sunscreen… Dr. Murad suggests wearing an SPF 15 everyday.

Common Health Myths Busted

There are hundreds of health myths that have been circulating both online and offline for years. Here are a few common ones that you may find surprising:

Cold Weather May Cause Illness

  • Believe it or not, cold weather has no effect on whether or not someone will get sick. The rhinovirus, cause of the common cold, is just that – a virus. As such, it doesn’t depend on external forces of nature to spread from host to host. However, cold weather forces more people inside and into closer proximity. It’s likely that this increased cohabitation and interaction allows the virus to spread.

Knuckle Crackers Will Suffer from Arthritis

  • Avid knuckle crackers are at no more risk to get arthritis than people without the habit. However, those prone to cracking their knuckles do find that they have weaker hand strength.  An increased risk of swelling in the hands is also a result of popping your knuckles.

Body Heat Escapes through the Head

  • Various studies conducted have shown that, in cold weather, the majority of body heat is lost through the head. What these studies fail to account for is that the participants were dressed in warm clothing except for hats. By this comparison, more heat was lost from the head than from covered parts of the body. The truth is, body heat is lost through any uncovered part of the body.

Hand Dryers in Public Restrooms are Sanitary

  • In an attempt to be more sanitary, many public restrooms now have motion-activated hand dryers instead of paper towel dispensers. Unfortunately, these dryers often have massive amounts of bacteria growing inside them. The fans can then blow the collected bacteria up to six feet away from the dryer’s own location. As such, these dryers are just as dirty as the door handles.

Reading in Low Light Ruins Eyesight

  • Eyes often adjust themselves according to the light, as experienced when a person steps from a dark room into sunlight. This is also true when reading in dim light. While there is a strain on the eyes, no actual damage occurs. Eyesight returns to normal after a period of rest. This is also true of watching television in the dark or using the computer in the dark.

Humans Use Only 10% of their Brains

  • Recent studies and imaging technologies have shown that there is not a single part of the brain that remains completely inactive. Multiple areas react to different stimuli, functions, and situations. While the brain may not always be 100% active at all times, humans simply could not function if only a portion of the brain was used.

Cell Phones Cause Cancer

  • Radiation has been linked to the development of cancer. However, humans are exposed to amounts of radiation normally throughout the day. Certain foods, like bananas, even give off radiation. The small amounts of electromagnetic radiation given off by cell phones aren’t enough to damage cells, and the body easily repairs any damage that does occur.

These are just some of the myths you should be aware of in your day-to-day war on unhealthy behaviors. So the next time someone tries to lecture you on the dangers of cell phones and cracking your knuckles, you’ll be the wiser!

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/