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How Cupping Can Help Your Body

What Is Cupping and What Are Its Benefits?

There’s an old cliché, “Everything that is old is new again.”  This can definitely be seen in the field of healthcare and treatment.  As more and more medical advancements are being made, it is of interest that many healthcare workers are returning to older forms of therapy and treatment for their patients.  One of these is “cupping therapy” which has become popular in the United States after having been used extensively in eastern countries such as China.

How does cupping work?

If your therapist decides to use cupping therapy with you, then he or she will use a series of cups that are usually made of glass but can also be earthenware or substances such as silicone.  A substance such as paper is placed inside of the cup and set on fire to begin heating the cup up.  As the fire goes out, the cup is then placed directly in contact with various points on the patient’s skin.  As the heat subsides and the glass cools, a vacuum will form inside of the cup.  This will cause the blood vessels in the skin to expand and the skin will be “sucked up” into the cup as the suction forms.  The cup is left in place for about three minutes and then removed.  If the cup is left in place too long or if the health professional does not properly place the cup, it can lead to bruising and skin problems.  If the cup is heated too rapidly before being placed, it can also, in rare cases, lead to mild burns on the skin.

What are the benefits of cupping?

Cupping has been used to treat a variety of medical issues, including herpes, acne, facial paralysis, and cervical spondylosis.  It has also been recommended as a treatment for migraine headaches and other stress-related ailments including high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.  In addition to these areas, the practice has been used to treat pain for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  Olympic gold medalist and swimmer Michael Phelps brought attention to the practice when he revealed that he used cupping therapy to help his sore muscles relax quicker so that he had less downtime during his intense training sessions.  Other ailments that cupping therapy has been used to treat include eczema, asthma, allergies, varicose veins, and even infertility.

As Western medicine makes significant strides with different therapies and treatments, many doctors and naturopaths are turning to older, traditional treatments such as cupping.  As more research is done in these fields, it is becoming more and more apparent about how this form of treatment can benefit a modern society.

Golden Rules of Self Care

How to Make Self-Care a Priority

How to Make Self-Care a PriorityThe Golden Rule famously states to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” All this talk of love shows how we are often taught to treat the topic.  We are trained to see love as something that you give to others.  Self-care is often derided as being selfish.  But, the reality is that self-care is an important factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

One of the most important reasons why self-care is so valuable is that it teaches us to value ourselves, cultivating a feeling of self-worth and self-respect.  People tend to love and even show respect for people who are confident and capable of being loved.  If you don’t practice self-love, it is harder for people to love you themselves.  In addition, if you don’t love yourself, how do you expect to care for yourself so that you can live a long life of loving and caring for others?

So what is self-care? 

It ultimately comes down to taking care of yourself on all levels, not just physically and mentally but also emotionally and even spiritually.  You can do a lot of things to make sure that you sure that you care for yourself and keep yourself maintained for the lifestyle you want to live.  Here are some ways you can practice self-care.

  • Exercising regularly to keep your body working properly
  • Get a full eight hours of sleep every night
  • Eating healthy foods and not processed junk
  • Dining at home with your family as often as possible
  • Relaxing as often as possible with your favorite past-times, be it music, dancing, art, or film
  • Engaging in meaningful (face-to-face) conversations with people to keep your mind sharp and your social skills intact
  • Reading at least one book a month, either for enjoyment or for self-education
  • Listening to self-help and uplifting podcasts that encourage you to be the best you possibly can
  • Working crossword or Sudoku puzzles or completing jigsaws that will help you develop your mental acumen
  • Meditating at least once a week to get in touch with your spiritual and emotional side
  • Working with charitable organizations to help you feel more in touch with your community and your giving nature
  • Going for walks through nature
  • Doing daily housework and chores that make you feel organized
  • Taking care of your physical self with regular massages

Self-care is an important part of anyone’s health, be it physical, mental, or spiritual.  There are many paths to this type of lifestyle, but you should focus on meeting as many as possible.

Massage During Your Pregnancy

How Massage Can Help When You’re Pregnant

Massage During Your PregnancyWhen you’re pregnant, your body is going through a lot of changes. These changes can often lead to new types of aches and pains. From the swelling in your legs and ankles to the uncomfortable positions you have to get into to get a moment’s rest, it can be a downright uncomfortable nine months.  Many expecting moms are looking for the best way to ease those pains and the solution may be more natural than you think.  

Massage therapy is a great way to help with many of the chronic problems associated with pregnancy. As with anything during pregnancy, there are special considerations to factor into any treatment you try. Here’s how you can benefit from massage therapy during your pregnancy.

Find the Right Massage Therapist

If you’re pregnant and considering getting a massage, it’s important you find the right massage therapist. Not everyone who is listed as offering massage has been specially trained to deal with the issues related to pregnancy. That’s why it is important to ask for the massage therapist’s credentials so you can determine if they are trained in providing pre-natal massage. Another good way to find a licensed massage therapist with special training is to ask your personal physician.  Many doctors can make recommendations regarding local massage therapists.

What Are the Benefits?

So what exactly can massage therapy help you with?  One of the most obvious benefits is alleviating muscle aches and swollen, painful joints, especially in the ankles and knees. Massage also brings an overall feeling of relaxation and has been found to reduce depression and anxiety. 

Regular massages can also help regulate hormones by reducing your cortisol levels that affect your stress. Therapeutic massage can also increase your production of dopamine and serotonin, which are like natural antidepressants to help you beat the pregnancy blues.  

Because massages help to ease joint tension and relax muscles, it can also help to ease and relax the pelvis, helping it to stay more in alignment with the rest of your body.  Some studies have pointed to the possibility that this will help ease complications during birth and make the experience a little bit easier.

If you are pregnant and interested in visiting a licensed massage therapist, make sure to talk to your physician first.  Generally, massage is not a good idea for those with high-risk pregnancies or women in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.  However, if your doctor gives you the thumbs up, consider it lovely way to ease your aches and pains.

Show Some Love: Understanding Your Partner’s Love Language to Get Them the Perfect Gift this Valentine’s Day!

Do you know your partner’s love language? Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages® explores the way to connect with your partner on a richer, deeper level of intimacy than ever before. Our needs are different and understanding those intricacies can save years of heartache and misunderstanding. With Valentine’s Day approaching, knowing your partner’s love language can be the difference between the perfect gift and totally missing the mark. If you haven’t taken the quiz, it’s free on Gary’s site. Just click here.

Every person has a primary love language, but if you’re not sure which one fits your partner, you can’t go wrong with hitting all five languages in your celebration.

Words of Affirmation – saying I love you, complimenting and/or praising your partner.

Ideas:

  • Send a recorded voice message letting them know how much they mean to you.
  • Compliment them or let them know how much you appreciate them being there with you.
  • Make the day special by going out of your way to let them know how you feel about them.

Quality Time – time spent together whether you’re doing anything or not.

Ideas:

  • Take a spa vacation together. It lets you release your stress, but you also get to spend time together.
  • Unplug and spend the evening just being together.
  • Be a tourist in your town for a night. Go stay at a Bed and Breakfast and see the city through new eyes.

Receiving Gifts – meaningful tokens of appreciation and affection.

Ideas:

  • Gift certificates to your partner’s favorite massage therapist can be a wonderful gift.
  • Traditional Valentine’s gifts are always nice, but try to find something unique that your partner would appreciate even more.

Acts of Service – doing something for the other person.

Ideas:

  • Make dinner for your partner.
  • If your partner has this as their primary language of love, then figure out where they are the most stressed in their lives. Do something extra in that area to make them know how much you appreciate them.

Physical Touch – holding hands, kissing, pats on the back, massage, sex, etc.

Ideas:

  • Shoulder or neck massages are fantastic stress relievers.
  • Walk together and hold hands.
  • Think beyond the bedroom for this language of love. Look for things that could ensure you stay within touching distance.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you do it with sincerity and affection. Showing your love in a way your partner understands will ensure a wonderful and successful Valentine’s Day.

Mental Health Benefits from Self-Care

Is stress part of your regular day? If you’re like 89% of Americans, it is. In 2017, there has been a decline in self-care and that has resulted in some alarming figures related to health. What if I told you that massage and facial therapies are quick and effective at helping you ease your stress?

Massage, alone, has been proven to increase sleep quality, improve stress-related health problems, reduce absenteeism from work, and decrease the likelihood of hospitalizations due to stress-related illnesses. Couple that with the decrease of stress-related headaches that facials provide, and you’ve got a winning combination for self-care that can’t be beaten.

Heat from a hot tub, sauna, or other treatment options can soothe aches and pains that come from work, joint pain, or other health conditions that leave you sore and stiff. Massages and facials can improve blood circulation and also enhance your immune system. They can also detoxify the body.

It’s nothing mysterious. Facials remove bacteria from the skin and built up waste. They can release stress tension in the face and neck which can help prevent migraines and other types of headaches. The right kind of touch can ease the mind and spirit while making your skin shine with natural health and beauty.

Massage therapy goes a bit deeper. It stimulates the body so that it can draw out metabolic waste, toxins, bacteria, and other waste buildups in the muscles. Have you noticed that sore muscles feel better after you rub them? Massage will break up those waste products that inflame the nerves around them, allowing them to flow from your body in a natural way.

The health benefits extend to mental health, as well. Massage can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good hormones. The power of touch is greater than we’ve ever imagined. Recent research concluded that chronic pain sufferers, those suffering from depression or stress-related health issues, and combat veterans suffering from PTSD have seen incredible improvements on their overall mental health and energy levels after finding a massage style that worked for them.

Our massages range from 30 minutes to a 120-minute deep relaxation therapy designed with your needs in mind. We have additional options, as well. The heated deep tissue bamboo massage does incredible deep-tissue work for improved circulation, sensory nerve perception, and lymphatic drainage. Our AromaTouch technique uses eight specific therapeutic grade essential oils applied with very specific motions to promote relaxation and balance in the simple nervous system. Thai Yoga massage is a bodywork massage that uses point pressure, yoga-like stretching and more to invigorate the body. Myofascial Release is essential for increasing range-of-motion and reducing pain in the myofascial connective tissues. Our chronic pain clients find the Neuromuscular Massage to be extremely effective in managing their pain. It’s also very effective for some post-surgical care situations and injuries to help improve recovery and prevent future injuries.

Make 2018 the year of self-care and add massages and/or facials to your regular health regiment. Your heart, mind, and body will thank you for it.

Hitting the Gym This Year? How Massage Can Help You as You Work Toward Your Fitness Goals

Are you hitting the gym hard this year? While you’re putting your body through the paces, remember that recovery is an essential part of your workout routine. Your muscles rebuild what’s been broken down during exercise. That’s how we increase our endurance and strength.

Massage can be used before, during, or after your exercise. It’s been known to reduce muscle tension and pain, lower blood pressure, increase lymphatic flow (our heated deep tissue bamboo massage works great for that), and increase active range of motion. The best part of all is that it can improve recovery time.

The Journal of Sports Sciences recently conducted research on the effect of massage on muscle soreness, perceived recovery, and physical performance in male bodybuilders. Their research concluded that post-exercise massage (after an intense workout) can “improve exercise performance and recovery rate”.  This was proven for runners and sports athletes as well. One test was conducted on highly trained and successful soccer players. A spa treatment that included massage was part of the study. They found that massage was an effective recovery intervention for athletes, increasing running performance and sprinting performance between games.

Whether you’re a sports and exercise enthusiast or completely new to the gym, there is solid research that shows a positive relationship between your body and massage as part of your recovery. Massage can:

  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Increase relaxation
  • Support recovery of the muscles
  • Enhance athletic performance
  • Prevent injuries
  • Increase range-of-motion
  • Decrease muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise
  • Improve soft tissue function
  • Improve exercise performance
  • Reduce swelling (inflammation)
  • Improve sleep patterns
  • Support the recovery of heart rate and blood pressure after high-intensity exercise
  • Improves blood flow
  • Increase flexibility
  • Give you a boost of endorphins that help balance the mind and reduce stress

A regular massage program can build a cumulative effect. The more often you receive them, the more advantages you’ll get. A note for intense athletes: if you want to do a pre-event massage, schedule it three to five days before the event to reap the flexibility rewards.

Taking care of your body is about more than going to the gym. It includes recovery and self-care. You’re working hard out there. Let’s help your body recover so you can get back to it and push it a little harder next time. From pro athletes to first-time gym-goers, there’s no doubt that massage can take your workout to the next level.

First time visitor to Urban Squeeze Massage and Facials? Check out our New Client Services offer for the 60, 90, or 120 minute sports massages on our booking page.