How Massage Can Beat Your Winter Blues

How Massage Can Beat Your Winter Blues

The days are short and gloomy. The nights are oh-so-long. To top it off, every form of flu and bronchitis known to man has decided to shack up at your place for several weeks. So what’s to be done? Fill the house with full spectrum sunlamps? Buy property in Arizona? Maybe.

But can we modestly suggest something more personal, more accessible? Our massage and spa services are just the thing to beat the long mid-winter blues. Here’s why.

Heated massage tables
Need I say more?

Okay, maybe not, but this bears elaboration. It’s not just about the tables. Each of our massage rooms are quiet and completely private. The whole atmosphere of our clinic is utterly inviting. Peel off the layers! Lift the sheet. Ease yourself slowly against our heated, well-padded tables as the sounds of soothing music and ocean waves brings your mind and spirit to rest. Take a deep breath, and get ready, because we haven’t even started yet.

A mini vacation
When you’re ready, the massage therapist comes in, gently places their hands between your shoulder blades, and begins to work their magic. Tension melts off you like suntan lotion in the summer sun. Months of stress built up since your last vacation evaporates. You feel your body sinking even deeper into the warmth of the table. Your mind drifts like a raft on clear blue waters.

Unwound, healed, happier
Reluctantly, you’ll rise from the table. You’ll have faint prints on your face from the wrinkles in the face rest cover. You’ll feel warm inside and out, glowing and flush with new circulation as you stretch what feels like a new back, arms, and legs. You’ll leave the clinic feeling just a little hazy from the deep, relaxing experience you’re still recovering from. In fact, it’s best if you avoid making any major life decisions in this state.

But does it last?
Your massage session is a great experience, but it has benefits that transcend the hour or two on the table. Yes, you’re going back out into the damp, dark winter, but you’re going feeling like you’ve just stepped off the plane from somewhere warm and relaxing. What’s more, you’re likely to be more emotionally stable. Massage has been shown to help people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression. Even one massage a season will make a significant difference, but if you feel you need more regular treatment, we offer pre-paid packages to make regular visits more affordable.

Not just massage
We offer a range of enhancements that amount to actual spa services, some of which you won’t find anywhere else, including our chocolate hydrating face mask, aromatherapy, hand or foot scrub, and hot stone massage. Any or all of these can add to your massage experience and help you feel like you’ve just been on the vacation of a lifetime compressed into an hour or two.

Sound good?

Book your next massage now.

Choose the good life.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to build your social media presence and focus your brand by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

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How Heat Can Work Muscle Pain Miracles

How Heat Can Work Muscle Pain Miracles

Heat has long been understood to be a great way to ease muscle pain, but how exactly does that work?

To begin with, let’s understand how muscle pain and strain manifests itself.

As you work your muscles throughout the day, you’re putting them through stress. Even if your lifestyle is relatively sedentary, modern life is still hard on your muscles and soft tissues. Repetitive motion, bad posture, lack of exercise, over-exertion–all these can cause muscle tension that restricts blood and oxygen flow. As this happens–you guessed it–the muscles send pain signals to the brain.

The resulting pain can range widely–from mild discomfort to intense, crippling agony.

What heat can do
Adding heat to muscles and soft tissue dilates the blood vessels to increase circulation. This activates your body’s natural healing process, sending vital resources to the distressed area.

Intense heat also has the benefit of soothing and relaxing the surrounding muscles and tissues. You may feel an instant sense of ease and well being wash over you.

Stop! Don’t heat that!
Is the painful area red or swollen? Is the pain you’re feeling the result of some kind of trauma? You better use ice instead. In fact, applying heat can make things worse.

A treatment, not a cure
Heat has tremendous benefits in the short term, but it can’t fix anything permanently, especially if the tension you’re trying to relieve is due to repetitive motion or poor posture. You’ll want to treat the proverbial disease here, not the symptom.

If your muscle strain is due to repetitive motion due to work conditions, you can keep on treating the symptom, but you may need to change the circumstances of your work somehow. This might mean something as simple as an ergonomic appliance. It could also mean a change of jobs. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that not changing anything will take a toll on your body in the long term, no matter how much heat you apply or how often you receive massage.

As for posture, that is something that can be corrected. Mindfulness is key here. Strengthening your mind-body connection will make you more aware of the subtle pain signals your body is sending. You may find that your body is full of aggravating muscle tension you’re not even aware of.

You can work on this yourself, doing regular mindfulness check-ins to ensure you’re standing or sitting in a way that’s natural. You may find, though, that the plasticity of your muscles has been working against you. Your bad posture habits may have trained your muscles to hold themselves in the wrong shape, trapping you in poor posture that’s difficult to correct. Regular massage and a daily stretching regimen may be called for as you try to loosen your muscles and help them conform to a new, healthier posture.

Heat, a key component of massage
We use heat regularly as a tool in massage therapy, sometimes with simple friction on the skin to warm things up. But we may also employ hot towels to help relax particularly tense areas.

Did you know? Hot towels are a session enhancement that’s absolutely free. Just ask!

We also use hot stones as a specialty treatment or enhancement to help break down adhesions and deepen your relaxation.

Book your next massage today!

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to help build your brand and expand your digital presence by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

What the Expecting Can Expect – A Primer on Prenatal Massage

Massage can be a great help, especially when the stresses of life–good or bad–become more intense than usual. Pregnancy is one of those times of life that, for most, is an exciting and anticipated event, but which brings with it challenges that massage can help you handle.

Christie Ellis, LMP, formerly of The Good Life Massage, is an expert in prenatal and post-natal massage.

Our resident expert in prenatal massage, Christie Ellis, LMT is a former employee of The Good Life Massage and has special training in prenatal massage. As a prenatal massage expert we consulted with her to share some of the fundamentals and benefits of prenatal massage.

What exactly did your special training consist of, Christie?
“Most people don’t get a lot of training other than just very basic contraindications (signs that prenatal massage should be avoided). So I actually got extra training in prenatal techniques at Bastyr University. Carol Osborne was my instructor there, and she is one of two or three national experts on training massage therapists in prenatal massage. So I took her training, which was four days, and it was all just exclusively prenatal and post-partum massage. So I’m certified in that, and I just have more experience in working with that population than most.

You’re a mom. Did you have any experience getting prenatal massage during that time?
I did, once. That was for my first pregnancy. It was actually my first-ever professional massage. I don’t think I even began to understand the positive impact that massage can have on the pregnant body. I think I totally thought of it as a luxury service, just getting pampered. But I didn’t know it would have an impact on my bodily structures. I think that was something I didn’t really understand until after I had my second child and was post-partum and was having all kinds of problems after having two babies.

What are some of the major benefits of prenatal massage?
I would say that there is stress relief, which is really valuable. It effects the nervous system, and is able to calm down everything when there’s anxiety, potentially, about becoming a parent, giving birth, and just preparation for the big event–it lets the brain kind of take a break for a while.

And then, I think, dealing with common pre-natal concerns like psiatica, low back pain, and pain in the shoulders can be alleviated or mitigated with prenatal massage.

What’s the value of one session versus regular sessions for expecting mothers?
Essentially, there is value in one treatment. When you’re doing fewer treatments, the value is more for the nervous system. It takes longer for lasting value and lasting change for the muscles.

I think weekly massage is very reasonable for pregnancy, and is not overkill. Definitely monthly, weekly, or twice a month is great to be able to address issues and kind of help compensating muscles as the baby’s growing and putting stress continuously, increasingly over the pregnancy.

Are there any safety concerns?
Prenatal massage completely safe. Our bodies are protective, and there are a lot of protective structures in between the outside of our body and the baby.

Having said that, there are precautions that need to be taken. Someone adequately trained should be taking those precautions, such as using a side-lying position later in pregnancy or elevating the side of the pelvis, and avoiding areas of inner-tension, such as the inner-thigh. That is, the inner thigh should be an area where caution is used in late pregnancy and post-partum. When you have a practitioner who is trained, and who knows those caution areas, it’s just as safe as any other time. There shouldn’t be any alarm about it causing any harm to the baby.

There’s an increased volume of blood in the inner thigh during prenancy, and most women have a good amount of blood clots in the inner thigh. The hormones released in giving birth cause those to dissovlve on their own, but heavy pressure on the inner thigh can dislodge them and cause problems. It’s better to just keep the pressure light. And then, a few months post-partum, regular pressure can resume.

Are there a lot of signs or contraindications women should be aware of to avoid prenatal massage?
Very few.

If there is a complication, such as preeclampsia, that is probably the biggest red flag to not proceed. Some of the indicators of preeclampsia include high protein in the urine, and high blood pressure to the point where it could cause fetal demise. It’s a highly managed complication. If someone has it, they’re in with their doctor a few times a week, probably.

Where there’s high blood pressure, massage would have to be at the discretion of the healthcare provider as to whether or not the person could tolerate that.

But for the bulk of people who just have aches and pains, maybe a little nausea, but no medical complication: with proper positioning, there are no concerns.

What session enhancements would go particularly well with prenatal?
I think one of the things that is most helpful is hot stone spot treatment. This is because, especially with late pregnancy and the positioning being on their side, getting on the deep pressure can be more challenging. But if the practitioner has a tool, such as a stone, to really go into the muscle with added heat, it can really get to a deeper muscle change than without it. Those are really nice. For work along the spine and pelvic work, it’s really nice to get to those with hot stones.

I also think aromatherapy is a nice enhancement for stress relief and also, again, since the positioning forces us to use less pressure, and because pregnant women are more sensitive to pressure, aromatherapy using something like the deep blue fragrance, or something that will relax the muscles is a nice way to still get the muscle change you want with the limitations on pressure.

Are there any myths about prenatal massage that are worth dispelling?
That it can put you into labor! That is a myth! Massage does not cause labor. Acupressure can precipitate labor, and that would be on the level of applying direct pressure on a very specific spot for two or three minutes every fifteen minutes over the span of about forty-eight hours.

So there’s no way to come in for a prenatal massage and come out a mother?
(laughs) No! And to be clear, acupuncture and acupressure are very different than massage. We’re using much broader strokes with massage and there’s absolutely no concern that a nice foot massage could put a woman into labor.

Another myth I would point out is that abdominal massage can cause miscarriage. That’s out there, too, especially for people who are concerned about the first trimester.

I do think it’s important to have someone that’s trained for any sort of abdominal work, but massage in general is very safe for expecting mothers.

Thanks, Christie!

Book your prenatal massage now.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about your particular case:

Email:
support@goodliferenton.com

Phone:
425-243-7705

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. Find him online at TGunnWriter.com

4 Common Myths About Hot Stone Massage

Hot Stone Myths

You’ve seen it before, maybe on a glossy insert or ad found at a hotel or on a cruise ship: an image advertising hot stone massage. The rocks are uniformly black and smooth, laid out in a straight line down a relaxed lady’s spine.

If you’re not familiar with hot stone massage, this image might be simultaneously inviting and baffling. Why would I want hot rocks placed on me? And why would I pay extra for the privilege?

These are legitimate questions. Here are some legitimate answers.

But first, some myth-busting
This popular image of hot stone massage is somewhat misleading and confusing. You may have guessed that applying heat in a massage can be beneficial. But this principle isn’t properly applied by placing and leaving exposed hot stones directly on the skin. This could result in first or second degree burns.

You also might infer from the smooth blackness of the stones used in photos like this that there is supposed to be some kind of special property in them to somehow magic your tension away. This isn’t the case.

abstract background with dry round reeble stones
Our stones aren’t manufactured: they’re individually plucked from the shores of the Pacific Northwest with our own hands.

Any smooth stones will work for a hot stone massage. While most spas and clinics will use cut or synthetic stones that come with that uniformly black shape and color, we have opted to go with stones pulled from rivers and shorelines right here in the Pacific Northwest. These stones have been handpicked by our experienced owners to be the best possible tools in the hands of our therapists.

Note, also, that the person in these ads looks completely dry. In practice, hot stone massage involves a lot of oil, or at least much more than would be typically used in a massage. While it’s true that the stones are smooth, oil is still necessary. We typically use grape seed oil. If you’re allergic to grape seed oil, we carry a variety of other vegetable and synthetic oils that can be used as alternatives.

The most common misconception is that hot stone is good for deep tissue and treatment work. This isn’t the case. Hot stone massage is primarily a relaxing experience. It’s like a combination of a good, thorough massage and a long soak in a bubble bath. These qualities made it a favorite in spa settings and on cruise ships.

Having said that, the heat of the stones accomplishes quite a lot. It helps the muscle fibers and connective tissue relax and loosen so that the massage can do more good with less discomfort.

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are at getting regular massage. If you’ve never had a hot stone massage, you really don’t know what you’re missing.

What a real hot stone massage is and why you’ll really want one
Hot stone massage is a session of 90 minutes or more that involves stones heated to 120 – 135 degrees, Farenheit. The stones are heated in water inside of a slow cooker. When the stones are used, they are coated in oil and used by the therapists as massage tools. While the stones do make contact with the skin, the therapists generally keeps the stones moving. This is to ensure the maximum benefit to sore or inflamed muscles and connective tissues, and also prevents the burns that would result if placed and left on the skin.

The therapists may place the stones on an area of your body that could use extra heat, but this is done with a hot, moistened towel between the skin and the stones to prevent burns. In this way, the stones act like a second set of hands for the therapist, applying heat and pressure to one area while the therapist starts work on another.

At the end of the massage, the stones are carefully cleaned and sanitized.

What if I get burned?
There’s nothing to worry about. All our therapists have been carefully trained and are fully certified to give this kind of massage safely.

What could be better? This, that’s what
A number of our available session enhancements are well suited to this kind of massage.

  • Aromatherapy: citrus or lavender are optimal choices when paired with a hot stone massage
  • Hand or Foot Scrub
  • Cold Stone Treatment
  • Ice Treatment

A hot stone session is a great time to try one of our cold treatments since the heat of the session tends to make the cold more bearable.

Be sure to add one of these enhancements when you book your session.

Keep in mind, too, that hot stone is available for couples sessions.

Visit our main page to book your couples session or give us a call if you have any questions.

425-243-7705

Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor at The Good Life Massage. Follow him on Twitter @tomgunnpoet.

Fancy Feet: A Healing Enhancement For Your Hardest-Working Body Part

Feet are a miracle of nature. Every day we put more and more miles on our feet, whether its by walking or running. And they don’t just bear your bodyweight: every day your feet bear your weight, plus atmospheric pressure equal to the weight of small car. Even just standing in line can put your feet to the test. Sometimes we just need to take the time and appreciate our feet by just kicking them up and getting off them. That doesn’t sound like a bad idea right?

Well, what about a foot massage? That would definitely show your feet some appreciation.

GLM offers a massage enhancement to go along with your regular full-body massage session called “Fancy Feet”. This enhancement allows our therapists to give your feet the focused work and attention they deserve.

The Fancy Feet enhancement consist of two options that are available to you that will last 30 blissful minutes. The first option is a foot sugar scrub and the second option is a hot-stone spot treatment. If there is any inflammation around the area, we do offer the cold-stone spa treatment as well. Fancy Feet is designed to bring relaxation and healing to you and your feet.

Sugar Sugar

Why sugar? Salt is a common abrasive agent for many spa treatments, but unlike sugar, salt dehydrates the skin. Sugar naturally soothes and protects the skin of the feet and also eases discomfort from dry and tight skin. Sugar adds hydration to your parched skin and can refresh parts of a tired foot. We offer four different types of handmade sugar scrubs for you to choose from:

  • Sweet pea
  • Peppermint
  • Energize
  • Peaceful Nights

You can also purchase these handmade sugar scrubs right at our location before or after your massage is complete or through our online store. Our therapists will gently scrub in a circular motion, which will exfoliate the skin on the foot. Once the therapist is done scrubbing the foot, they will rinse off the foot with a moistened towel, leaving the skin of the foot healthier and noticeably softer than before.

The Stones

The Second option that you can choose with this enhancement would be the hot or cold stone spot treatment. At GLM we do not have manufactured stones. Our smooth stones are hand-picked from the Pacific Northwest coastline. Hot stones allow your feet to receive a more luxurious foot massage. It feels great, but it can also help relax soft tissues and break down adhesions in the muscles which cause unnecessary tension in your feet. It also allows increased blood flow and circulation when the heated stones are applied.

Our stones aren't manufactured: they're individually plucked from the shores of the Pacific Northwest with our own hands.
Our stones aren’t manufactured: they’re individually plucked from the shores of the Pacific Northwest with our own hands.

If you are suffering from inflammation in your feet, we do offer the cold stone spa treatment to help reduced the pain and discomfort that you may be experiencing.

Click here to book a Fancy Feet today!

None of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Byron Benson is a marketing intern for The Good Life Massage from Eastern Oregon University.