Get Out: How to Refresh Your Well Being With the Power of Nature

Get Out

When was the last time you spent more than a few minutes outdoors? If you’re like me, you prefer to stay inside, surrounded by a few nice people and your favorite things. But recent studies suggest you might be harming your mental, and possibly even your physical health by staying in too much.

And it’s not just about staying indoors, it’s about city life in general. If you’re reading this, you most likely live in a world full of electronic and mechanical noise, artificial light, metal, plastic, and pavement. But it probably wasn’t like this for your grandparents, or their grandparents.

The urban experiment
In the roughly 10,000 years of human civilization, it’s only relatively recently that a critical mass of humanity has begun living in cities, foregoing rural or nomadic life for freeways, big box stores, and high speed internet. It may seem like it’s been the way life is for most for a long time. But it’s really an experiment in human living that’s only just begun.

How’s it going for you so far?

In spite of the many benefits of living in cities, people are reporting high levels of unhappiness, malaise, and dissatisfaction. Does that mean we should sell our possessions and live in the woods? There may not be any need to go to such extremes.

Take a hike
One study showed that even minimal exposure to nature can make a difference in happiness and well-being. Short walks in the park, keeping potted plants around, or even gazing at landscape painting made a difference in the subjects. Another study showed that when potted plants were present in an office environment, overall stress was reduced, employee sick time plummeted, and productivity improved.

Consciously adding some outdoors time to your self care regime is easy, fun, and relaxing. Even if you’re out in not-the-best weather, you might be surprised how much better you feel afterwards.

Even some artificial nature is better than nothing. At The Good Life Massage, our waiting area has a pleasant waterfall and handsome potted plants, and every massage treatment room is equipped with a white noise machine, usually making the sounds of rain or ocean waves to help deepen your relaxation.

Add a little nature
The preponderance of evidence that suggests that exposure to natural settings and a general sense of well-being and happiness has been overwhelming to the psychological community. So much so that a new field of ecopsychology has arisen, in which mental health professionals are looking further into the ways our happiness, health, and relationship to nature intertwine.

In a sweeping happiness survey of American cities, some interesting patterns showed up. One of the significant factors that connected America’s happiest large cities (Seattle among them!) was proximity to natural or green spaces, along with easy access to large bodies of water. These were only a few of several factors, but it’s interesting in light of the studies about the relationship between happiness and regular exposure to nature.

So turn off the TV, leave your phone off, and get out there. Don’t let a beautiful day, or a beautiful life, go to waste.

Choose the good life.

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

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How Massage Can Boost Your Workout

How Massage Can Give Your Workout a Boost

Massage has long been known as a great way to relax and soothe aching muscles, but the proof is in: massage is truly therapeutic to sore muscles, accelerating healing in muscle and connective tissue.

A recent study at McMaster university showed that not only did sore muscles have fewer signs of inflammation. It also showed that massaged muscles were better able to produce new mitochondria, which accelerate healing after intense exercise.

Why you hurt the next day
Muscles feel sore after an intense workout because exercise puts your body through stress–stress that can actually do some damage to muscle tissue. You’d think this would make exercise bad for you, but the theory is that exercise puts your body through relatively mild stress consistently so that it can better handle short periods of more intense physical stress from time to time. The point is, exercise is very hard on your body! This is known as micro-level fiber damage.

Although you’ve done your body some good by working out in the long term, you’ve actually done some damage in the short-term. You can reduce some of this damage and shorten your recovery time by giving your muscles a little TLC after your workouts.

Performance like you’ve never seen before
It’s not just about feeling better. Massage can help your performance and ensure an injury-free journey to the results you want.

As you put your body through the intense stress of a workout, the connective tissue can scar and gather in adhesions–stubbornly sticky masses that reduce flexibility and inflict unnecessary pain as you recover. Adhesions can also hinder your performance, throwing off your form and making it that much more difficult for your muscles to function smoothly.

Massage breaks down these adhesions, stretching the muscle fibers gently. By the time you’re back in action, not only are your muscles stronger, they’re ready to perform at an optimal level without painful adhesions holding them back.

Massage can also help you maintain your posture–a vital factor in keeping your form even and consistent. This is a particular concern in weight lifting, where form and balance can make a significant difference in results. Have you ever noticed that big bench-pressers can sometimes have a slight hunch forward? That’s because their pectoral muscles aren’t releasing the tension as easily as the opposing back muscles–both of which work together to complete that particular motion.

As they persist without stretching or getting regular massage, the effect compounds on itself. As a result, they’re over-taxing the pectorals, causing their form to suffer over time. You may not be a bench presser, or maybe weights just aren’t your thing, but this kind of imbalance can manifest in any number of activities. And you may not be fully aware of the imbalance until it results in a strange posture, uneven results in your workout, or even injury.

Regular massage after intense workouts will help keep your form consistent and allow your muscles to perform at an optimal level.

Book your next massage to coincide with your workout recovery. (Whatever you do, don’t schedule your massage BEFORE your workout! This could result in injury!)

Choose the good life!

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

 

Know Yourself: 5 Body Myths

Know Yourself - 5 Body Myths

We talk a lot in this space about forging a strong mind-body connection. But an important part of that connection involves educating yourself about what your body really needs and how it really functions. Here’s a little uncommon sense about your body.

Sorry, but eating carrots doesn’t improve your eyesight
This is a bit of propaganda form World War II that worked a little too well. Great Britain had actually developed night vision, so the government spread the word among civilians that they could enhance their vision at night by eating more carrots. It’s not true, but the myth has persisted. Sure, eat your carrots, just don’t expect it to bestow super powers.

Stretching before a workout doesn’t prevent injury
Injury is may be less likely if you stretch before athletic activity (though even that’s still in dispute), but don’t let stretching make you think you’re invincible. Don’t get us wrong, stretching is good! It gives you optimal range of motion and ensures your muscles change and adapt with the most benefit and the least pain.

Fever? Cold? Feed both
The rationale behind the old saw “feed a cold, starve a fever” is that your metabolism is the source of a fever, which isn’t wrong. But when you’re sick, whether you’re suffering cold symptoms or a fever, feed you body with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Eat when you’re hungry, and drink plenty of fluids.

Nosebleed? Don’t tilt your head back
It’s almost instinctive to throw your head back during a nosebleed to keep the drips of blood from falling, but resist the urge, and recognize that your mom as human and fallible as the rest of us. Tilting your head back can actually cause you to swallow or even choke on your own blood! Instead, hold your head level while pinching your nose just below the bony part until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding persists for more than a half hour or gets worse, get immediate medical attention.

Laugh at Star Wars and Victorian novels all you want, but you really can die of a broken heart
According to the American Heart Association, the links between mental health and heart health couldn’t be stronger. Broken Heart Syndrome is real, so act accordingly. Sure, eat a good diet, stay active, get plenty of sleep, but also nurture you closest relationships. They might just mean the difference between life and death.

Question your assumptions! Interrogate “common sense” just to be sure, especially when it comes to your health.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director of The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to build your brand with logo design and content marketing by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

 

Massage and Pain Relief — Does it really work?

In terms of our work here at The Good Life Massage, we have found that massage therapy can have a significant impact on certain kinds of pain, especially when the source of that pain is strained muscles or repetitive stress on a certain area.

Sure, thank goodness for aspirin, but if you want to feel better in the long term, there’s no substitute for treating the underlying source of the pain. Massage has long been known as a good option for¬†getting to some of the underlying causes of the persistent pain that can result from injuries, or just the everyday stresses of life.

But massage can also play a role in helping you get control of pain above and beyond the familiar aches, pains, and minor injuries.

The last thing you need is headaches
Headaches generally fall into one of two categories: tension headaches and migraines. Massage can help both, but the approach is somewhat different for each.

Tension, or muscle contraction headaches come from tightening of muscles in the neck, head, and face. This can come from stress or poor posture. Massage can loosen those tight muscles and release the tension that builds up because of poor posture. If posture correction is your goal, keep in mind that it will take time, both in practicing the correct posture, and in using massage therapy to help retrain your muscles to find a new, more natural position.

Migraine, or vascular headaches come from a slight build-up of pressure in the head, which can somewhat restrict oxygen-rich blood flow. By soothing and relaxing the muscles of the face, head, and scalp, massage can help reduce this kind of pain

A substitute for heavy pain killers?
As a piece of the overall picture in health care, the subject of pain and how to help sufferers get control of it has been through a lot of ups and downs in the past several years. With the introduction of stronger opiate pain killers, things seemed to be looking up for patients. Now, practical experience and studies have shown these wonder drugs to be highly addicting, and have triggered a plague of addiction across the country.

As a result, doctors have gotten much more strict and careful about prescribing opioid pain killers like oxycontone. Protocols at hospitals and clinics have tightened up to keep these drugs in the right hands, but no system is perfect. It’s probably true that many have been protected from addiction because of these measures. Unfortunately, as a result, many patients are finding it difficult get the pain relief they legitimately need.

The system isn’t likely to budge on this any time soon since the widespread addiction is only getting worse. So how can patients get the pain relief that they need?

Recent studies show that non-traditional treatments, such as massage therapy, can provide significant and noticeable relief, either in conjunction with medication, or as an alternative.

One study conducted in a hospital setting showed a decrease in the average pain levels in patients by 28.5%–a significant improvement. This study also showed that patients showed improved sleep and a greater ability to cope with physical and psychological challenges as a result of receiving massage.

Right hands, right time, right place
And not just any massage will do. A literature review of several studies found that empathy, an on-going connection with the massage therapist, and even the setting and time of day were all significant factors in the massage’s effectiveness. The takeaway: the best results come from regular care from someone you trust rather than a cheap one-and-done experience.

At The Good Life Massage, we do our best to create a relaxing, healing environment for all our clients. Our therapists want to build a relationship with every client. Whenever we can do that, we find that we’re able to provide customized care with the best possible results. Learn more about our staff of massage therapists on our staff page.

Personal experience
We know of what we speak. Our own Amy Gunn, LMP suffered terrible abdominal pain for years before finally researching a massage solution to the problem. Her research resulted in a new treatment regime we offer to clients called visceral manipulation that has helped her and others like her. Read her story.

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.

What non-medication methods have you used to get pain under control? What has worked for you? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Do you struggle with pain regularly? Have you considered regular massage treatment as a part of your arsenal in fighting it?

You can book with us online or by phone:

425-243-7705

Tom Gunn is a freelance writer and social media marketing specialist. He is also the Marketing Director for The Good Life Massage. You can see more of his work, or even hire him at www.TGunnWriter.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @elmanoroboto.