Massage for Better Breathing

Massage for better Breathing

Your breath could be doing so much more for you than just keeping you alive. Skeptical?

Keep reading.

Or …

Come in for a massage, and ask for work on your abdomen, chest, and lower back, then come talk to me.
Massage can be the beginning of a new realtionship with your breath. But that’s just the first step.

The source of your life
Your breathing is a more involved, complicated operation for your body to perform than you might think. The lungs certainly don’t do it all alone. A whole chorus of muscles coordinate with your lungs to keep the oxygen flowing.

Did you know? There are two different networks of muscles that help you breathe: one for exhalation, one for inhalation. These are primarily attached to your ribcage, but some also attach to your backbone. Your muscular system is massively interdependent–that is, they’re all interconnected, and what impacts one has an effect on the others.

If your muscles get tight through stress, over or under-use you may not be breathing as deeply as you could or should. Even if you don’t feel any immediate discomfort, you may not be getting as much from your breathing as you could.

One of the benefits of rigorous physical exercise is that in addition to whatever muscles you may be working in your legs, arms, or core, you’re also working those muscles that aid in your breathing. The more you use them, the stronger they grow! This is just one reason you feel so good as a cumulative effect of exercise: your breath comes in deeper and stronger, not only during your workout, but throughout your day.

What massage can do
If you’re suffering from bronchitis, don’t come in while you’re still suffering symptoms! After you’ve started to feel better, however, coming in for a massage is a great idea. All that coughing causes tension and soreness that lingers even after the coughing has stopped. Massage on the chest and abdomen will help relieve that tension and restore you to your normal breathing.

Do you suffer from asthma? In a clinical study conducted at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine indicated that massage reduces cortisol levels in asthma sufferers, assisting in long-term improvement in breathing.

Even allergy sufferers can benefit from massage. While massage is no miracle cure for anything, massage can definitely help allergy sufferer’s cope with the symptoms and, in time, retrain the body to manage the stress of the onset of allergy symptoms.

Book your massage now, and take a good deep breath again, for the first time.

Choose the good life.

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.

Field, T., et al. Children with asthma have improved pulmonary function with massage therapy. J Pediatr 1998 May; 132 (5): 854-8.
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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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.

3 Self-Massage Hacks (To Tide You Over Until Your Next Massage)

3 Self-Massage Hacks

Just because you’re between regular massage appointments doesn’t mean you have to suffer until your LMT gets their hands on you. Self massage is surprisingly simple to do, and can pay off big if you’re trying to get through a tough, stressful day, or want to reward yourself for surviving one.
Here are 5 simple massage hacks you can do at home or at work to keep you going until the next treatment.

1. Sub-Occipital, or the “Sweet Spot”

This one requires no more tools than your fingers on either hand. Find the spot just behind your ears where the back of your head connects to your neck. Press in at that connection point, moving your fingers towards and then away from the middle of your neck in slow repetitions. Do that for about 30 seconds.
How does that feel?

2. The “Play Ball” Back Massage

Get a tennis or racket ball and wedge it between your back and the wall. Use your legs to move your back up and down against the ball. You can vary the pressure however you like, and that ball can reach places you’ll never be able to get to without imposing on a friend or booking a massage.
This one can also be a great way to do a pre-massage check on yourself, so you know just what parts of your back seem to need the most attention from your LMT.

3. Handy Hand Massage

If you spend a lot of time at the keyboard or working with your hands, this one was made for you. This actually consists of not one technique or motion, but several in a sequence. First, firmly, but gently grasp your hands in each other. You’ll be surprised how nice this feels when you really take a moment and focus on the sensations.
Next, take each finger in the other hand and gently pull and twist, running your hand up to the finger tip.
To finish, give your fingers a shake like you’re trying to shake slime off, then clench each fist one at a time, smoothing them over gently.
The hardest, but maybe the most important part 

Don’t forget the mental, emotional component of this exercise in self care. Any massage therapist worth their salt isn’t just going through a series of motions during a session. They’re thinking of you and your needs, paying attention to what they’re feeling going on in those muscles and what needs the most attention.
A sense of caring and loving-kindness is crucial to giving a good massage, whether it’s for someone else or yourself. For many of us, the self-love and self-care aspect of this is the toughest to get past, but these techniques are about more than mechanical motions to go through.

To really get the maximum benefit, send yourself the kind of good feelings, compassion, and awareness that you’d devote to someone you really cared for.

Have you tried these and still feel like a wreck? 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 contact him to help you build your brand and reach your customers by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

Gratitude: The Gift You Give To Yourself

 

Gratitude

We tend to think that gratitude is a feeling that just happens to you–a reaction, like laughing at a joke. The problem with this idea is that it makes us victims of our own ability to adapt. Even if the circumstances we live in are extremely good, we may not have any awareness of it. We’re just focused on the next threat to our existence. This is a good strategy for staying alive, but it doesn’t work so well for feeling like life is worth living. We get used to how good things are, and before we know it we’re sneaking envious peeks over the fence to admire the neighbors’ grass.

Gratitude works like magic in the way it can transform the hum-drum world around you into a place of wonders: a place where miracles are happening all around you at every moment. You can see this transformation in even the most mundane and onerous aspects of modern life (including commercial air travel).

Not only does gratitude make you feel better about what you have, it can open the door to even more good things in your life.

For your health
Being grateful for your body and your health increases your body awareness. Your body may not look just the way you’d like; it’s current condition may reflect either poor choices on your part or circumstances beyond your control. But consider what an amazing mechanism your body is! Millions of years of evolutionary growth have gone into it, and before that, the very stuff you’re made of was a part of the stars in the heavens. Your body, whatever it’s condition, is a wonder to behold. Keeping these beautiful ideas in your heart and mind will do more for your happiness and health than you may realize.

In fact, studies show that people who are grateful are more likely to attend regular checkups, have fewer aches and pains, and suffer from less depression. What’s more, a default position of gratitude will help you enjoy your body more and deepen your happiness and sense of well-being, helping you feel better both mentally and physically. And who couldn’t use more of that?

So exercise! Enjoy affection and intimacy with someone you love. Get a massage from time to time to give your body a little treat.

For your relationships
A study published in Emotion in 2014 showed that saying thank you to someone you’ve just met increases the likelihood that the person you’ve thanked will establish an on-going connection with you. When the people around you feel appreciated, they tend to want to do more of the thing you thanked them for. As you continue thanking people and as gratitude becomes the default for your personal and working relationships, more and more people gather around you, offering up their best selves as you keep rewarding them with recognition and gratitude, often without even thinking twice about it.

For your soul
Are you feeling ground down all the time, defensive, victimized? Do you lash out at people who probably don’t deserve it, or feel like a slave to your own tempestuous moods? Consider cultivating more gratitude.

A 2014 University of Kentucky study showed that people who rated higher in gratitude were less likely to retaliate when given negative feedback, and showed greater empathy towards others over all.

With greater gratitude, you’ll have higher self-esteem because you’ll be able to recognize your own gifts, and so won’t feel the need to resent the achievements or accomplishments of others.

What more reasons do you need? Cultivate gratitude in your life. Treat yourself like someone you’re trying to take care of and work gratitude into your public and private life. Pray or meditate daily. See how many times you can say “thank you” to the people in your life in a given day.

Get curious about it: hat would happen if you tried it?

Choose the good life.

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

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

How Massage Can Benefit Digestion

How Massage Can Benefit Digestion

Massage has a whole range of benefits–so many in fact that a rapid-fire listicle just won’t do it justice. After three or four bullet points, the eyes glaze over and you say “Okay, I get it. Massage is good.”

But no, seriously: Massage. Is. Amazing.

We’re so committed to sharing our wonder at the benefits of massage that we want to dive deep over the course of several posts on this space to share those benefits with you.

Today we’re going to talk about a massage benefit most aren’t at all aware of. Massage can actually aid the functioning of your digestive system.

It’s not a cure for any serious illness as far as we know, but it does reduce symptoms and provides relief for debilitating and embarrassing digestive problems.

Keeps things moving
You don’t usually have to think about it, but digestion is complicated. The reason you don’t usually have to think about it is because it’s a part of the autonomic nervous system–that aspect of your nervous system that controls all the bodily functions you can’t control. When you get a massage, your massage therapist is moving blood and hormones, releasing tension in muscles, and warming and relaxing soft tissues. All this aids in the functioning of your autonomic nervous system. Think of it like an oil change for your car–it keeps things moving. This effect has a direct impact on your digestion, which is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. The improved circulation helps with waste removal and the production of enzymes essential to digestion.

Keep your cookies
Did you know that massage can reduce nausea? It’s particularly beneficial for morning sickness in pregnant women. This works because massage relaxes the muscles over-all, and increases the flow of blood and hormones. All these have the added benefit of reducing nausea because the muscles of the stomach are more prone to relax. Massage has been clinically proven to help reduce stress and aid sleep for pregnant women, both of which help reduce nausea.

Keep in mind, though, that if you have a stomach flu, clinical massage is not the answer. In the short term, we’re likely to make you feel worse. If you feel sick on the day of your appointment, please give us a call and cancel immediately, for your own sake.

Clear your plumbing
Massage helps stimulate and facilitate peristalsis in the large intestines. Peristalsis is the odd, snakelike motions your digestive system goes through to move food and waste through your system.

Here’s an animation to show you how peristalsis works:

#GrossbutCool

What does this do for you, exactly? To put it delicately, it helps clean you out. When you live a relatively sedentary lifestyle as most of us do, the contents of your intestines can settle and gather, causing gas and colic. (And yes, that means that children and babies can benefit from some light massage just as much as adults.)

This increased peristalsis also helps prevent constipation.

Having stomach issues? Come see us and see what massage can do for you.

Book now.

425-243-7705

On a related note, if you regularly have muscle pain in your abdomen, we strongly suggest you learn more about our visceral manipulation massage. This is a specialty treatment of ours you won’t find anywhere else, and it’s worked wonders for our clients, including our own staff. Check it out.

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 contact him to help build your brand and develop your content marketing strategy by emailing him at tomgunn@gmail.com

 

 

5 Reasons to Give Experiences, Not “Stuff”

5 Reasons to Give Experiences Not Stuff

You’ve seen it year after year now–the “deals” that come tumbling into your phone notifications and email inbox. Every retailer imaginable feeding a narrative that seems to build on itself like an avalanche until it becomes a seemingly unstoppable force. That narrative: that there’s low-hanging fruit waiting to be plucked, and if you miss it, well–you MISSED IT! Imagine how much worse your life will be if you don’t land that DEAL! If it feels like this message is being screamed at you, that’s only because it is–from all sides.

But let’s pause for a moment and consider this message. Is it true? How does it jibe with your experience as a consumer?

Think about last year. How much of the stuff you bought (for just a great deal!) last year is something you still use? Do you even still have any of those items? Chances are, even if you have them, you probably don’t use them. Maybe they turned out to be not what you’d hoped. Maybe the enticement of a deal got you so wound up you purchased something you found you didn’t really want. And where does it end up? In the trash? Donated to charity? Passed on to someone else?

We can all agree that giving is good, but how can you give better? How do you stop yourself from falling for the same consumerist trap every year?

Here we’ll discuss 5 reasons to stop giving “stuff” and start giving experiences instead!

Memory, not stuff, makes your identity
True, sometimes giving stuff IS giving an experience. Who doesn’t remember being a kid and tearing the wrapping paper of a hoped-for gift? Maybe it broke the next day or you played with it for years, but that moment is what you were really given. That moment is what you take with you. When you experience something, it influences your whole future–every future decision you make. The trick is that your mind tends to jettison memories of things that seem to be useless or mundane–like the disappointing gift you got from your Aunt Sally. Why hang on to that memory? The memory of receiving it is gone at almost the same moment the gift itself is discarded or put in a closet–out of sight, out of mind.

Experiences, on the other hand, remain, especially if it takes the person out of the mundane grind of daily life. Maybe it’s something they would love to do, but for some reason wouldn’t ever decide to try on their own? Maybe the experience you give them will actually help them to become a better person, or will help them achieve a goal they’ve always wanted to reach for. Giving an experience is giving them something that will stick with them, something they’ll be telling their friends about, something they might even remember on their death bed.

Giving STUFF–bad for the economy
When you give stuff, you’re playing an odd game of roulette with your giving. Maybe they’ll find that thing useful or entertaining. But you can’t always be sure. For this reason, economists have argued that gifting is actually bad for the economy: people spend good money on something for another person, which most of the time is unwanted by that other person. This evaluation passes over the social value of gifting, but the point is well taken. Aren’t we being a bit wasteful, spending money on this stuff (on sale!) that’s likely to be forgotten anyway?

Experiences don’t need storage units or landfills
Americans are drowning in stuff. The off-site storage unit business has exploded in recent decades as people find there’s not enough room in their houses-garages-attics-basements for all their STUFF. And they cling to that STUFF so dearly that they’re actually willing to take on considerable monthly rental fees just to keep it under someone else’s roof across town.

On the other end of the spectrum, regarding STUFF we throw away, that has to go somewhere. We contaminate soil and defile the natural world just so we can bury the STUFF we can’t use anymore. Maybe some of it gets recycled, but that recycling process doesn’t come without environmental cost. And let’s not forget the energy spent, the natural resources used to produce that nick-knack in the first place. And all for what? A transitory feeling of pleasure at opening a gift, at best, and a feeling of disappointment and obligation at worst. Doesn’t it make more sense to send your loved one to a concert, or give them an excuse to finally visit that museum they’ve always wanted to check out?

Everybody loves a good experience
Great experiences know no age. Young or old, everyone likes to have fun, to learn new things, to have a chance to improve themselves. We’re wired to enjoy novelty, no matter what form it takes, and no matter how young or old we are. And that novelty is far more memorable when it comes in the form of experience that delights all the senses and isn’t just another soon-to-be-forgotten shiny thing.

Experiences are easier to buy
There’s at least one person on your list who’s impossible to shop for–that person who doesn’t seem to want anything, or who already has everything they could want (that’s in your price range). Or maybe it’s just hard to tell what they would want. Buying them an experience is so much easier! Think about that difficult person on your list: do they like learning new things, eating out, getting massages, going to plays or concerts? Chances are they like at least ONE of these things! And you only need one!

On top of all this, experiences can be given year after year! Did they love that massage gift certificate they got last year? Why not give it again? Maybe you could even add on enough for them to try one of our great session enhancements or try a longer massage. Sure, you sent them to the symphony last year, but maybe they’d love to see a rock concert this year.

Giving experiences beats giving stuff for so many reasons. We could keep going, but we don’t want to keep you. Get out there and enjoy the experiences of your life. And when it’s time to gift, share those experiences with those you love.

Be good to yourself this week.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to design your logo, create social media posts and other content, or strategically develop your brand by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com