Wow, I woke up this morning to the beautiful and very missed sunshine! It is really beginning to feel like spring in Portland. I have been preparing my garden beds for planting and I can certainly feel it in my muscles. Yardwork is no small feat and I am definitley due for some bodywork! I am thinking an hour massage followed by community Acupuncture. Ahhhh…I just can’t wait!
What do you do to keep your body happy after gardening and playing outside?
Check out this Newsweek article for reasons!
Newsweek; U.S. Edition
FOCUS ON YOUR HEALTH
THE MAGIC OF TOUCH
A WEEKLY MASSAGE MAY SEEM AN INDULGENCE, BUT NEW RESEARCH SUGGESTS IT CAN HAVE MAJOR HEALTH BENEFITS
BY ANNE UNDERWOOD
Michelle Huddle trims the bones and gristle from 330 chicken breasts an hour, five hours a day, on a packing line at Wampler Foods. That’s a lot of chicken–and a lot of strain on Huddle’s wrists. Last August her right hand started going numb from early-stage carpal tunnel syndrome, and the pain in her wrist got so bad she could barely move her hand. A family doctor gave her cortisone shots, but the company nurse had a better idea. She sent Huddle to one of the company’s massage therapists. Within weeks Huddle was back on the packing line and praising her therapist as “my angel.” She’s not the only one. Since instituting a program of massage, job-specific exercises and ergonomics in 1990, the Virginia-based company has cut repetitive-stress injuries by 75 percent. “Absenteeism is down, too,” says therapist Marilyn Alger, who initiated the massage program. “People never miss work on their massage day.”
From assembly lines to corporate headquarters, Americans are discovering the magic of massage. At Boeing and Reebok, headaches, back strain and fatigue have all fallen since the companies started bringing in massage therapists. Ballerina Julie Kent of American Ballet Theatre in New York calls her weekly sessions “as essential as stage makeup or pointe shoes.” Doctors have started prescribing massage to help patients manage stress and pain. And a few HMOs have begun sharing in the cost. “Massage is medicine, not merely an indulgence,” says Laura Favin of Not Just a Luxury Onsite Massage in New York.
Anyone who has rubbed a stiff neck knows intuitively that massage relieves pain and muscle tension. But the benefits don’t stop there. Scientists are now finding that massage can reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system, dampen harmful stress hormones and raise mood-elevating brain chemicals such as serotonin. And you can’t beat massage for relaxation. Babies fall asleep faster when massaged than when rocked–and they stay asleep, rather than waking the moment Mom tiptoes away. All these factors, says Tiffany Field, founder of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, “put massage in the same category with proper diet and exercise as something that helps maintain overall health.”
Many of the benefits stem directly from physical manipulation. Skilled hands can press lactic acid out of muscles after exercise, easing the pains of marathon runners and triathletes. And by dispersing fluids, massage can ease the inflammation that follows sprains and other injuries (although it shouldn’t be used within the first day or two). When a woman has lymph nodes removed during a mastectomy, lymphatic fluid can collect in the arm, causing swelling. “Other than massage, there is really no good treatment,” says Dr. Chester Plotkin, director of the Lymph Edema Center at the University Hospitals of Cleveland.
The effects aren’t always so straightforward. Massage can also stimulate nerves that carry signals from the skin and muscles to the brain, triggering changes throughout the body. In a groundbreaking 1986 study, Field showed that premature infants who were massaged three times a day for 15 minutes gained 47 percent more weight than other preemies and were released from the hospital six days earlier. It wasn’t just that the massaged kids felt more secure for being coddled. In later research, Field showed that massage (as opposed to light touch) stimulates the brain’s vagus nerve, causing the secretion of food-absorption hormones, including insulin. Nerve stimulation probably explains other benefits as well. “It’s like the play `Six Degrees of Separation’,” says Dr. James Dillard of Columbia University. “Every nerve cell in the body has some connection to every other nerve cell.”
Even brain waves are altered by massage. In another of Field’s studies, EEG measurements showed that workers who were rubbed down for 15 minutes twice a week had lower levels of alpha and beta waves–indicating greater alertness–than their colleagues who did relaxation exercises for the same amount of time. When both groups tackled math problems after treatment, the massage group worked faster than the relaxation group, with half as many errors. Could massage work similar wonders for children with learning problems? In Alabama, speech therapist Peggy Jones Farlow says she is using it successfully to enhance basic language and social skills in abused, neglected and handicapped kids.
Massage is not a single discipline but a family of related arts, each offering different advantages. If you’re plagued by insomnia or simply need to relax, Swedish massage, with its long soothing strokes, may be all you need. But if you suffer from painful muscle spasms or need to rehabilitate an injured joint, “deep tissue” massage may be more helpful. The technique uses greater pressure to penetrate to deeper muscle groups. “Trigger-point therapy” can help relieve pain by prodding and stretching out sensitive spots that cause aches in other parts of the body. (Think of the headache you relieve by rubbing the back of your neck.) Sports massage combines all these techniques to reduce soreness, prevent injuries and treat sprains, strains and tendonitis.
Like exercise, massage does more for you if you engage in it regularly. Field uses daily massages in many of her studies–for example, to boost immunity in HIV-positive men. But even a monthly treatment can help maintain general health. “Touch is basic to survival,” says Elliot Greene, past president of AMTA. That’s all the excuse anyone should need to indulge.
We would love to hear your feedback about anything and everything, how was your experience at Written on the Body?
Here are some testimonials we have received from clients recently:
The hot stone treatment literally rocked! Super effective- the heat makes your muscles relax a lot quicker and thus is more effective. Love the atmosphere of the studio too.
By Anna R.
A Truly Special Place. I had a bamboo massage and it was one of the most restorative experiences i’ve ever had. the heat combined with julie’s firm and knowledgeable touch felt wonderful. the female focused art, the colors and fabrics and general vibe made it feel all the more like i was doing something special for myself. simply lovely.
By Claire Dufala
The hot stone massage was excellent and they were super accommodating. I had a tight schedule and they were happy to work with what ever I needed in fighting the right time. I will definitely go back.
Julie is Great. She gives a great massage and allows a nice relaxing, but firm pressure massage. II love the warm bamboo and stones. The room is a little on the drafy side, but it is also nice to breath fresh air. I wouldh recommend her definately.
I had the hot stone massage with Julie and found it very relaxing but after reading the other reviews I’ll also try the bamboo massage. I like Julie a lot. She’s warm, easy going and gives a great massage. The only thing was getting into the building . The door was locked and I had to wait a bit but it was no big deal.
By Aaron P.
Great massage, very friendly therapist, very realaxing. I enjoyed the heated bamboo, they were smoother than the hot stone massage so it felt nicer on my skin than the stone. A bigger sign out front might be good, took me a little bit to find the place using my gps.
By Chris C.
I thoroughly enjoyed my hot stone massage, and probably even fell asleep a couple o times because it was so relaxing. Just the right amount of heat… next time I’m going to have it followed (or lead?) by a deep tissue massage and go for longer. A one hour massage just wasn’t enough!
Incredibly relaxing, I didn’t want it to end. Is the best hot stone massage I’ve had so far! Thanks Julie! I will be recommending to all of my friends.
My Bamboo Fusion Massage with Julie was excellent! The care and attention I was given by Julie was phenomenal I have been looking for the last few months for a Massage Therapist and after the excellent, wonderful care by Julie I truly believe I have found her. Julie was so close to perfect I can’t think of a better therapist than her, I will definitely be back.
Julie was awesome. I tried the bamboo fusion and deep tissue massage – perfect. I get massages on a regular basis closer to home, but may need to start making the drive to Written on the Body because of the quality of the service.
A very relaxing, soothing massage! The use of bamboo is highly effective. The therapist was professional and the atmosphere welcoming and tranquil. I will recommend to friends!
My first time with the hot stone massage – it was so relaxing. Julie did a great job of using the stones along with some deep tissue massage with her hands. The setting was nice too.
I had an excellent experience with Written on the Body. The scheduling was great, the flexibility of the staff was great. Julie has wonderful hands and did a great job with the bamboo fusion massage.
By Debbie B.
I am under alot of stress and so I requested a relaxing hot stone massage and it was exactly right. Great music and a super massage. I was surprised that I couldn’t really tell she was using stones, but really felt the wonderfully relaxing heat from them. I would recommend this to everyone. Really made my day!