Headaches and Massage

“This project is such a headache!”

They’re so common that the term has become synonymous with an annoyance, but what are headaches, really? And can massage therapy really help? That depends, based on the kind of headache. With the different types, there are different causes, which also means different treatment protocols.

Headaches and massage

 

The good:

Tension headaches, the type of headaches people are most likely to experience, seem to respond well to massage therapy. Not only does massage seem to reduce pain in the moment, but regular massage therapy also appears to increase the amount of time between headaches for those who experience them on a chronic basis. This could be a result of helping to manage stress or underlying mechanical issues that can result in headaches, but there’s no solid science yet on precisely why massage helps, only that it does.

 

More good news! It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that folks who experience regular headaches are also more likely to experience high levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Studies have found that massage can help with these issues not just in the general population, but also specifically in people who live with chronic headaches.

 

Some people with secondary headaches can also benefit from massage. People with fibromyalgia, for example, who often experience headaches as part of their condition, can experience both pain and stress relief with regular massage therapy. While massage during a flare-up of symptoms may need to be modified to be more gentle, some people find that it can provide relief both for headache as well as for pain throughout the body.

 

The bad:

Massage therapy is wonderful and often helpful, but it’s not a cure for headaches. While some people just need a bit of rest or a drink of water (dehydration is a surprisingly common headache cause), other people continue to experience headaches all their lives. While people who experience headaches caused by stress or muscular tension can absolutely benefit from massage, migraines triggered by things like foods or hormonal changes probably won’t see an impact.

 

The ugly:

There are some times when getting a massage for headaches isn’t just unhelpful, it’s actually dangerous. Most often, this is related to secondary headaches. Fevers, as an example, often cause headaches as well as achy joints that could lead someone to want to receive massage, but this not only risks overly stressing a body that’s already fighting off an infection, it also has the possibility of spreading the illness to the massage therapist and anyone else they come into contact with. Headaches resulting from a recent head (such as a concussion), neck, or back injury could also be made worse by a well-meaning massage therapist.

 

When there is the possibility of pain being caused by an illness or injury, it’s always best to seek out a physician’s opinion first. They can provide or recommend appropriate care for the issue causing the headache in the first place, and at that point you can ask them about whether it would be a good idea to receive a massage. Safe is always better than sorry!

 

Headaches can be a real, well, headache. But there’s help.

 

Sometimes a little change of environment is all that’s needed. If you have a headache and have been hunched over a computer for hours, try a stretch. A quick walk outside or a brief nap can help with a headache caused by eye strain. If you haven’t eaten or drunk anything all day, do that. It’s easy to get caught up in the business of our lives and forget to take care of our own basic needs, and stopping a headache before it starts makes a huge difference.

 

For those who can take them, over the counter painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin can be helpful in treating a headache. Sometimes caffeine is recommended as well. For stronger headaches, medications prescribed by a physician can be a lifesaver to many people, enabling them to function at work and with their families when they might otherwise have been left incapacitated.

 

And then there’s massage therapy, of course. It’s not a magical cure-all, but for many people, it really does help manage the pain and stress of headaches. Are you one of them?

Schedule your next massage, and let’s find out together.

3 Ways to Get Better Sleep

Insomnia. Stress. Work. School. Children. Pets. Friend outings. Family gatherings. Driving everywhere. Shopping. Appointment after appointment after appointment. With days full of a never-ending task list, how does anyone sleep a full 8 hours a night without interruption every single night??

 

Getting a full night’s sleep is sometimes  impossible, and that list doesn’t even mention if your body is in pain. If your sleep is of low quality or you’re not getting enough, it can interfere with your health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says, “Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions – such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression – which threaten our nation’s health.”

 

Sleep Awareness Week (March 11-17, 2018) this year is also Spring Break for the students in Fort Collins, which is perfect timing for you to get more sleep this week! This gives us an opportunity to leave insufficient sleep behind and get back to the quality sleep that is so vital to our health and wellness. Here are 3 ways you can start getting on track to better sleep habits.

 

Say goodbye to technology – well before bedtime.

Tablets, smartphones, TVs in the bedroom, laptops, and whole computer systems have crept into so many people’s bedrooms. Merely the presence of a device can affect a good nights’ rest. The Sleep Foundation has said, “Living in our 24/7 society, there is a loss of the evening reduction in light that has traditionally cued our brains to ‘wind down’ for sleep.” When there is less light around, usually cued by the sun going down and insufficient light, your pineal gland secretes melatonin, which helps your body relax and get ready for rest. 

 

If you’re having issues with sleep, and you have devices in your bedroom, here’s one piece of advice: Turn them off! Better yet–turn them off and keep them in another room. Nix the TV, tablet, laptop, and whatever else has found its way into your resting space. Break the habit and allow yourself to relax on a deep level.  

 

Establish a routine that is calming and relaxing.

Creating healthy habits goes a long way for humans, as we are habitual creatures. As children, we are conquered by our desires, and as adults, we are overpowered by our habits. Establishing an ending day routine can greatly impact the quality of your sleep. Finish the day with warm bath or shower, a cup of tea, cool the temperature in your room, and shut off the lights. Establishing a routine triggers a natural response that tells the body, “It’s time for bed.”

 

Massage. Massage. Massage.

There it is. Massage is HUGE when it comes to improving your sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have found massage to be beneficial for insomnia-related stress, as well as:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)

Massage can not only increase relaxation and lower your fatigue, but it can reduce pain and improve your quality of sleep. Which can also help restore your sleep pattern. Our need for sleep has dramatically increased with more technology available and busier schedules. Massage is a great way to fulfill that need.

 

In effort to celebrate Sleep Awareness Week, schedule a massage, and be on your way to a better night’s sleep. With it being Spring Break, everyone can enjoy our Student Special, 

How Massage Helps with Repetitive Motion Injuries

Repetitive Motion injuries are the most common injuries in the United States and make up 50% of all injuries among athletes. While these injuries do not seem as serious as breaking a leg, they cause the discomfort and issues that can lead to chronic pain. Limited range of motion can affect your ability to work or do other tasks.

 

The most common types of repetitive motion injuries:

While there are more than these, there are different names that some of them might go by, which is why they are listed together.

  • Tendonitis: Swimmer’s Shoulder, Runner’s Knee, Tennis Elbow, Trigger Finger
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bursititis
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Kyphosis

These are not the only Repetitive Motion Injuries, but they are the most common.

 

How does Massage help with RMIs?

Massage helps with repetitive motion injuries through a few different ways. First, addressing knots and tension helps relax muscles. Deep Tissue Massage addresses multiple layers of soft tissue that can be affected by these injuries. Neuromuscular Therapy can help muscles to work through bad movement patterns. Trigger Point Therapy can open muscular tissue up for better performance.

 

A knot is a condensed area of tension with a build up of lactic acid. When this buildup occurs, it puts pressure on the circulatory system and on muscle fibers, which prevents the fibers from functioning well. This can and does lead to muscles being too tense and prevents full range of motion.

 

Range of motion is important because movement is life. You should be able to raise your arms over your head, sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you, and turn your head to see you blind spot with no pain. If you can’t do one of those actions, you need to stretch and get a massage!

 

According to WebMD or Johns Hopkins, Physical Therapy or Pain Management strategies are listed as possible treatments for Repetitive Motion Injuries. While we are not Physical Therapists, we do offer deep tissue manipulation. We have many Physical Therapists who refer to us for the manual soft tissue techniques that they either don’t want to do or want to focus more on the strengthening portion of their care.

 

Massage is listed as an effective way of dealing with and managing chronic pain by multiple sources. This is because the direct work done to these soft tissues allows the tissues to heal. Massage and manipulation of the tissues helps the blood flow to that area, which helps to heal it. Whether you have tendonitis or carpal tunnel, we can help alleviate some of those pains.

Celebrate that Special Someone

Spending time with someone is a great way to show how much you care about them. So why would you get that person a certificate for a massage? When you aren’t with them while they enjoy it? When it’s a reason to be away from you?

 

Giving a specialized gift like a gift certificate for a massage shows that individual that you care so much about them that you want them to do things to take care of themselves. Self care is a necessity, especially in this day and age of always going everywhere and doing everything all of the time.

 

Here are some reasons why you should get your significant other a certificate for a massage:
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Even if it’s for just an hour of being apart, your beau will be thinking about how great it was that you gave that special gift the whole time. You are the reason they are feeling so good, so they will be extra grateful and happy you gave them such an awesome gift. Added bonus: while they’re getting their massage, do a chore or two that they usually take care of. Or you can swing by the store and grab their favorite treat. Use their hour out of the house to surprise them with something else.
  • You don’t have to massage their feet or back. Leave it to a professional! Every time you massage your love’s back or shoulders, it always feels great. A foot rub at the end of the day can really show you care. If your partner has some deep knots, you can also send them to a professional to get the real work done.
  • It’s an experience that helps them feel good. Massage relaxes the body and the mind. When a client comes in with a headache or having had a rough day (or couple of days), they leave with a new feeling of euphoria. Their mind is calm. Their body is relaxed. They just feel … good.
  • They will thank you for it. Trust us. Giving an hour for the one you love shows them you care about their health and well-being. They will be grateful for that hour of self-care.

 

From now until February 14, purchase a gift certificate for 15% off either online on in our store.

Call or text (970) 286-0033 for questions or to reserve a certificate.

Why get a Massage When You’re Grumpy

This might sound crazy, but I’ve actually ran into people who have said that they don’t want a massage because their mood isn’t great. Or that they don’t want to come in for their massage because they’re grumpy and don’t think they would be “good company” or something. Can you believe that people don’t realize how massage can stabilize their mood?

 

Guess what?! YOU SHOULD COME IN WHEN YOU’RE GRUMPY!!

 

First off, if you’re worried about being “bad company,” please don’t. We see people in all sorts of different levels of vulnerability. We have clients who talk the entire time–about their problems, life, exciting news, whatever–and we have clients who say almost nothing despite seeing them regularly. If you’re grumpy and don’t want to talk, don’t talk! If you want to make sure that your massage therapist doesn’t talk, just start off by saying “Look, you do amazing massages, and I enjoy you as a person, but today, I really need to just focus on me. I’d appreciate it if we only talked if necessary or when you’re checking in with how the session is going.” I guarantee you no massage therapist here will have a problem with that, nor will they be offended by it!

 

 

Massage also has a myriad of great benefits. In a Livestrong article from July, massage can help:

  • Reduce Anxiety
  • Improve Mood
  • Increased Relaxation
  • Promote Energy

 

With the improving mood part, it’s because massage can release endorphins which make you happy. So if you’re unhappy or grumpy, it would make sense to seek out something that is going to boost the endorphin levels in your body. Massage has more benefits than that, but we just want to focus on the mood stabilizing parts right now. There are also acupressure points that help stabilize moods, which can easily be incorporated into massage.

4 Ways to Celebrate Giving this Holiday Season

The leftover turkey has been refrigerated. The Black Friday madness is over. And maybe you’ve patronized the webs on Cyber Monday and even remembered Giving Tuesday.

 

Don’t limit the love to Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday is always the Tuesday after Thanksgiving; December 1st this year. It’s a chance for you, your family, community, company, and/or organization to give something more. But there’s no need to limit the giving to one day, we’re in a whole season of giving!

 

We’ve come up with a list of 4 ways to give – and they cost zero dollars.

 

  1. Give something you already have

Rummage through your cabinets and donate dry goods to a food bank. Ditto for your bookcases. Find some books and share them with a shelter, a school in need, or even a friend collecting stuff for a fundraising yard sale. Box up some old coats, hats and gloves and bring them to a homeless shelter or a local school (sometimes the school has to find hats/gloves so kids without them can play outside with their peers). Bring old blankets to an animal rescue, or donate blood.

  1. Make something

Bake some cookies and deliver to your neighbors or coworkers. If you are particularly gifted in couponing, gather up some free stuff and fill stockings. Donate them to a food bank or other program for holiday giving.

 

  1. Do something

Run an errand for someone. Smile at a stranger. Give a genuine compliment. Spread good news. Volunteer at a children’s hospital, nursing home, or anywhere you think another human being could use a smiling face.

 

  1. Write a letter/make a phone call

Leave a nice note on someone’s windshield. Even if you don’t know them. Call a friend or loved one you haven’t spoken to in a long time – especially if it’s someone you’re at odds with. Send an email to someone who has greatly impacted your life (and may not know it).

 

Bonus: And if you have a little money to throw around

Give a generous tip, whether you’re at the coffee shop, out to eat, or your often-unseen postal worker. Pay someone’s layaway anonymously. Sign up for a 5k that gives to a good cause. Bring some pet food or toys to a local animal shelter. Buy a gift certificate for massage for a person close to you and your family. There are so many ways to give that you might not realize.

 

Giving doesn’t have to be a huge, elaborate and grand event. Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest splash. As a massage therapists, we know that sometimes it’s not the hands-on work that is most helpful to a client. Often it’s just being seen and heard and cared for that makes all the difference in the world.

5 Reasons Jaw Massage is Right for You

By Marissa Orchard

 

TMJ is something we’ve talked about before, and really quite frequently (1, 2, 3). But why might you want a massage for your jaw if you have 1. Never had any injuries to your jaw, 2. Don’t clench / grind / etc. 3. Generally don’t get pain in your jaw?

 

Even if you don’t suffer from jaw pain or dysfunction on a daily basis, which is horrible, and no one should ever have to go through it, you might want to ask your Massage Therapist about jaw massage to help you with a few things.

 

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  1. Headaches. Some of your jaw muscles actually wrap around the back of the jaw and attach onto the vertebrae at the top of your neck. When these jaw muscles get tight, they pull on those vertebrae, which then irritates the neck muscles, which causes headaches. Not to mention that your temporalis, another one of your jaw muscles, covers the sides of your head! If you get headaches regularly and you want to try something new to help, try some TMJ work.
  2. Ear pain. Again, because of proximity and attachments of musculature, tension within your jaw can cause ear pain. That’s not to say that if you have an ear infection, a jaw massage is going to get rid of it. But if you struggle with pain in or around your ears, a jaw massage might loosen it up enough for you to cope with it better.
  3. Shoulder tension. This goes back to #1–if the jaw is tight and pulling on neck muscles, that can translate down into your shoulders. If you think of someone grinding their teeth, you also will likely see that person trying to wear their shoulders as earrings, which is not fashionable, nor is it good for your musculoskeletal health.
  4. Hip pain. Now, you might be thinking that this might be a little out there, but hear me out. If you clench your teeth, you clench your butt. It could have something to do with the same verb being used, but the way your body interprets signals from your brain when you’re stressed usually just sends out a generic “clench” whisper. You likely don’t even notice you’re clenching your glutes until your Massage Therapist puts an elbow in them. Even if the clench is minor, it’s still there, which exacerbates your jaw pain, which exacerbates your hip pain.
  5. Whiplash. Many people who have sustained whiplash injuries usually focus on the immediate pains and aches, which are usually neck, shoulders, and back. But after a while, it will creep up into the jaw. At least, it seems like the pain “moves” to the jaw. The problem is: it was always there. You just didn’t notice it until other pains subsided enough for you to notice something else. Think about it: whiplash literally whips your neck around. What did we learn from #1? That jaw muscles are attached to your neck. Which means your jaw muscles were also injured during your whiplash injury. That’s part of it! So get your jaw massaged!

 

If you’re familiar with the process, the best, most thorough way of receiving jaw massage includes the LMT putting on gloves and massaging the musculature along the inside of your jaw. Don’t worry–we will be on the outside of your teeth, we won’t choke you, and we won’t be putting anything sharp in your mouth. We don’t have to see inside your mouth either, so don’t feel like you’re in some kind of checkup. Like everything else, we are concerned with the muscles. It’s nothing to be afraid of, but it is something to try.

Meet Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith has been working for Under Pressure Therapeutics for a couple of weeks now, and she is fantastic! Her schedule is already filling up, so be sure to check her out.

 

Amanda will make all of your troubles melt away with her soothing massages that will also help you move better. She is also a Certified Yoga Teacher, so she really knows what’s going on in your body as she’s working with you. She has the most experience as a professional, Licensed Massage Therapist at Under Pressure Therapeutics, so you are in (pun intended) good hands!

 

It’s not too late to try Amanda’s massages for 15% off–any service with her is discounted through October 31st! Call or text (970) 286-0033 or book online.

5 Simple Ways to Honor Your Breasts (and Your Body)

By Noel Beck

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I have always had mixed feelings about this month.  My mom found out she had breast cancer back in 1999 and then passed away from the on-again/off-again diagnosis in 2010.  She and some of her friends would do the walks when I was little, but as I got older, I started to wonder why we are not finding a cure or at least better health techniques when so much money is being donated during the month of October.  I know it helps people feel like they are supporting their friends and loved ones, but I have found that doing some good, old-fashioned, self care is what helps us take preventative measures for our own futures.

 

Cancer isn’t predictable and it isn’t pretty, but here are a few simple ways to take care of yourself and honor your breasts.

 

Lead by Example

Perform monthly self breast exams, get knowledgeable about your body, and schedule regular mammograms. I have been told since I was 17 that I would have to have my first mammogram at 30.  This is 10 years younger than most women, but with my family history it makes sense.  Make sure you schedule a clinical breast exam with your primary care physician, too.  I have mine done every year at my annual visit. Set a good example for the loved ones around you by incorporating healthy practices. This can include starting a garden, eating as organic as possible, exercising regularly, and packing healthy lunches for your kids.

 

Talk to Your Family and Friends

Teach your children about self care and good breast health. Tell them about the health risks that come with smoking and alcohol.  The smoking aspect is what my mom’s doctors believed was a major factor that contributed to her breast cancer. Talk with your kids, siblings, parents and grandparents about your family’s health history and don’t be afraid to tell your doctors. Consider talking to your sister, mom, or best friend about getting a mammogram.  A friend of mine had her first mammogram a couple of years ago and she said it was easy breezy where they just smooshed her breasts and then sent her on her way!

 

Give a Meaningful Gift

Go out of your way to show someone you care. If someone close to you is struggling with cancer, offer to get their groceries, bake them a casserole, take them to a doctor’s appointment, or just be there for them when they need it.  This was the most helpful thing that our community did for us.  Remembering the kind people who baked us home cooked meals, and helped us out with grocery shopping was a wonderful thing in a difficult time. A gift doesn’t have to involve money or the purchase of a material item. Just being there for someone makes a world of difference.

 

Get Involved

Consider raising money for a good cause, attending a local event, or starting your own fundraiser during the month of October.  I think local charities are the best, because you can see that money going directly back to the community.  Diana Price Fish (which closed in 2009) was one such organization that allowed my mom to get out of the house and take us to plays, musicals and concerts.  It made living with cancer not so serious 100% of the time.

 

Take Care of Yourself

Put in the effort to take care of yourself and this goes beyond eating right. Of course, it’s good to avoid processed foods, but also make sure you are exercising and curbing any habits that negatively affect your health. Replace them with good ones. Turn your 10 minute smoke break into a 10 minute walk break. Avoid staying up to late and try hitting the sack even 20 minutes earlier. Change your monthly Girl’s Night into a Girl’s Spa Day and get massages.  Stress is the number one cancer causing problem.  Stay active and relaxed (which is one of the most difficult things out there for some reason) and stay positive.

 

It’s all about little changes to make small steps toward health. Breast health goes beyond routine breast exams, it starts with the food you eat and getting outdoors to everything in between.

How Can Meditation Help You?

Meditation is practiced all over the world and is becoming more popular than ever. But you might have asked yourself questions like: what is meditation? Where did it come from? What are the benefits that come with practicing meditation regularly? There are too many techniques; where would I start? What if I can’t quiet my mind? What is “zen”? What if I never find my “zen”? Is meditation for me?

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The exact date of when meditation originated is unknown but according to Psychology Today archaeologists have discovered wall art dating back 5,000 years ago. These drawings depict people sitting with crossed legs, hands resting on their knees, with eyes slightly closed. The earliest documented record of meditation dates back to 1500 BCE, from the Vedas teaching in ancient India. The Vedas are a collection of religious texts and hymns and that teaching, which transformed over the many centuries.

 

Fast forward to the 20th century when the practice of meditation was finally brought to the United States by Swami Vivekananda; however, it was Paramahansa Yoganada who made it popular. Yogananda formed the Self Realization Fellowship to bring the teachings of India’s ancient practices and traditions of meditation to people worldwide. There’s a really great and informative documentary on Netflix called The Life of Yogananda, if you wish to learn more on these ancient teachings being brought to the modern audience.

 

Time is a great teacher, although it will kill the student; that statement couldn’t be more true. It took a long time for meditation to come to the US and even after that, it wasn’t as mainstream as it is in today’s culture. Now it is socially accepted just about everywhere, and there are many meditation facilities all over the world.

 

There’s no wrong way to meditate, Live and Dare has a great list of different types of meditation. The traditional Japanese style of meditation is called Zazen or “seated meditation”. This is generally practiced seating on the floor or a cushion, hands resting on the knees with the legs crossed. Yoga is an exceptionally well-known form of meditation; classes can range anywhere from chakra balancing and vinyasa (to really get the blood going), or light stretching classes with more focus on pranayama or breathing. Mantra meditation is from the Hindu tradition, as well as Buddhism and Taoism. Also known as Japa, this form of meditation is a repetition of a mantra or a divine name. Mantras can be a single word or phrase that can help bring the awareness of a chattered mind to stillness. To keep your focus, you can practice this repetition by using beaded necklaces called Mala, traditionally with 108 beads, as it is a sacred number.

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There are countless benefits to adding meditation into you daily life and promoting a healthy body. It increases focus, memory retention and information processing, and gives you better sleep patterns with more restful sleep. Meditation improves breathing and heart rate, reduces blood pressure, prevents arthritis, lessens inflammatory disorders and asthma. Not to mention the emotional well-being! It lessens anxiety, stress, fear, loneliness, depression, enhances self esteem, self-acceptance and optimism. That’s just to name a few!

 

Generally, the main reason self care falls to the wayside is the lack of time, or that’s the common excuse. Another modern form of meditation is listening to a guided meditation through podcasts or a million other apps. So plug into a podcast and go get your zen on!

 

Written by Megan Jett