Taking Care of Yourself
After your massage I will show you several specific stretches for the muscles in your body that are tight or short we can discuss what will help you. This information is provided to you as part of a regular self-care routine to help you feel better.
These are simple, easy and take just a few minutes a day. You can do them at home or at the office. I can also suggest ways you can incorporate stretches into your busy life in an easy way. In just a short time you'll notice how much better you feel and how your range of motion has improved! 

Doing yoga, pilates or just regular simple stretches every day will help the positive effects of your massage last longer. You'll feel better as you continue to stretch and "work out the kinks" everyday.

As your muscles continue to strengthen and stretch, you will gain range of motion and feelings of openness and expansion.
This feels great!


Self Care Tips For Health

  * Easy to Do
  * Effective
  * Works Well
  * Help for Specific Areas
  * Helps You Feel Better Everyday!

How You Can Feel Better
Most people think that loss of flexibility, muscle and joint pain and tightness in the body is 'just part of aging' or an 'inevitable part of growing older'. Although this is a common belief, it is not always true.

Proper Posture Helps Avoid Pain, Strain and Falls
Proper posture is vitally important as we age. Proper alignment is needed to support the body correctly, to help everything function normally and to prevent future problems and pain. Poor posture can lead to permanent changes in the body’s alignment causing dysfunction, chronic pain, especially in the neck, hips, back and low back. This can eventually lead to poor balance and instability in the hips, legs, knees and feet which can contribute to falls.

Many studies of aging, physiology, movement and exercise physiology show that people can help prevent or improve the problems of short and tight muscles and prevent or break the cycle of tension and pain. There are people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and older who have reduced pain and returned to improved tone and flexibility after a program of proper, gentle and regular stretching. They've noticed better range of motion, more flexibility and less pain of arthritis. Notice how many yoga and stretching programs are now availabe for senior citizens, for people in wheelchairs with limited mobility and classes are even held in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Regular exercise, as in repetive motion like running, walking, working out or weight lifting, although fantastic for cardiovasvular health and strength can be a contributing factor to short and tight muscles.

It is important to incorporate some kind of stretching into your life as well as the cardio for optimum muscle function and feeling your best. 

Click to read a recent artlcle in Real Simple magazine as reported on CNN - Increase Your Flexibility and Improve Your Life.

What You Can Do - to feel better and help break this cycle of tension and pain:

  • Do as many of these suggestions as possible to help contribute toward positive change. 
  • Remember it takes about 30 days to establish a new habit and break an old one. Every choice you make about your body will contribute to good health or not. 
  •  First, be aware of your posture while standing, sitting and walking. Alignment and posture are unconscious so it takes being aware before any changes or improvements happen. Notice your habitual patterns and reactions to stress.    
  • Notice when you are leaning or sitting more on one side or leaning forward. When you notice it, adjust it. 
  • Avoid leaning forward while walking – keep your head balanced over the hips. Adjust your stance or sitting position often to maintain proper alignment (even when you are at the computer or while watching TV).
  • When standing – the toes, ball of foot, heel and both sides should all be balanced on the floor and should all be bearing some weight. If not, adjust your stance.
  • Important – if you are unsteady or have pain while walking, especially after surgery, injury or illness – use a walker to help take stress off your other joints as you recover. Then you can graduate to using a cane or hiking poles to help yourself feel sturdy and steady as you walk. Focus on feeling steady with a firm foundation under your feet, then you can begin to walk more upright with balance and a normal gait.
  • If you have had poor posture for some time – know that it may take many months of conscious awareness and corrective action to change the old pattern. Remember this issue is mostly likely a result of years of unconscious patterns of misalignment and these problems can’t be corrected in a few weeks, although you will probably start to feel small changes and feel better within a few weeks.
  • It may be helpful to see a good chiropractor to realign the spine and vertebrae. You can get their professional assessment and suggestions for improving your health and posture.
  • Massage therapy is designed to release tension and stress, relieve sore muscles, increase circulation and balance the overall energy (chi) in the body. Besides relieving pain in soft tissues, it is our job as therapists to help educate you about your patterns. We want you to become more aware of the muscles and soft tissue in your body and what you can do in your daily life to feel your best. 
  • Reflexology is designed to help balance the energy in the entire body as well as address specific pain and issues in the feet. Reflexology can bring relief for issues like Plantar Fasciatis, poor circulation and many other foot problems.
  • Stretch daily on your own, especially after exercise or working out. Take a 5-minute stretch break at the office. Stretch during TV commercials. Even while driving you can do arm stretches while stopped at a stop light.
  • As you do gentle stretching, also notice any areas of weakness. Having a weakness on one side of the body in a weight-bearing joint – one hip, knee, ankle or foot can lead to many future problems, including eventual falls. You can take action today to prevent this by strengthening the weaker muscles so your body is more balanced. In order to get help and good results you might need to go to a few sessions of physical therapy or hire a personal trainer or fitness coach to learn what to do and how to do it correctly.
  • Doing yoga or Pilates daily or at least 3-4 times a week will help promote proper alignment and posture as the joints become strong while the muscles strengthen, lengthen and become long and supple. You will feel better, younger and stronger. You will prevent injuries, strain and pain. You will become more balanced which will help prevent falls and injuries. Yoga or Pilates will also teach you more body awareness and where you have tightness and tension. No matter what your age or condition, there is a yoga class for you. Today, we know that yoga is so helpful and beneficial that is has been adapted for people with all levels of ability and disability – even people with arthritis, those in Nursing Homes and in wheelchairs. Whatever your condition, it is always best to work with an experienced teacher so it can actually benefit you, not hurt you. This is very important especially if you are older, have any issues with pain, joint problems, previous surgeries or injuries.
  • The other foundations of good health:
    • Good Nutrition – providing proper fuel, supporting the body and correcting deficiencies helps the muscles feel better, work efficiently and prevents muscle cramps and fatigue.
    • Pure water, healthful teas and juices fuel the muscles and cells.
    • Fresh air and being in nature revives the body, mind and Spirit.

Short & Tight Muscles
Everyone carries tension in their body which causes muscles to tense up, and actually shorten and tighten. Poor posture means there is strain and extra stress on joints, bones, ligaments and muscles. Sometimes this means a person can't turn their head as far as they used to while driving. Sometimes they have difficulty moving, bending, picking up objects off the floor, reaching to get something, getting up from a chair or touching their toes. Difficulty in these areas can often mean short and tight muscles in the back, neck, and legs.
 

Tight muscles put more stress and tension on joints which causes further pain. The problem is that over time - years, decades - this becomes a chronic cycle.

Tension and tightness inhibits circulation which causes pain and stiffness which causes more tension, tightness and pain, sometimes cramps, further inhibiting circulation....more pain and loss of flexibiity...repeat..... Short and tight muscles can aggravate fibromyalgia and arthritis pain and make painful joints feel even worse. This can cause repeated visits to your chiropractor.

Massage and stretching can be effective ways to reduce pain!

Where there is tightness and tension in the body, gentle and SLOW stretching is helpful to release the stiffness.
When you stretch any area or joint, move very slow until you find your ‘edge’ which is the place where you begin to feel tension and pain. You should NEVER stretch to the point of pain or past your edge which can result in a strain or injury to the muscle or tendon. As you continue to stretch every day you will notice that your ‘edge’ moves and you are gradually increasing your mobility, even a little at a time.

It is always better to stretch a warm muscle, than a cold one. This prevents strains, sprains, ‘muscle pulls’ and injuries.

Use a hot rice bag (heat in microwave) on sore muscles until they feel better. Using hot packs daily is also very therapeutic for stress relief as well as helping relieve those sore muscles, and tightness. It also helps arthritis, poor circulation and Fibromyalgia. Using heat before stretching will help your muscles stretch better. Also, a hot  bath, foot bath, hot shower, hot tub, etc… is helpful to warm the muscles and joints and increase circulation, especially before stretching.
 

stretching

 

  • Use muscle rubs, linaments or essential oils after exercise 
  • Use a hand-held massager on sore muscles 
  • Use a cold pack for strain or sprain 
  • Use a hot tub or hot therapy pool  
  • Take a hot epsom salts bath 
  • Breathe deeply while stretching  

All of these assist the body in returning to balance and lengthen the muscles and help 'work out the kinks'. To be most effective the important thing is to stretch in a safe way and target the specific areas of tightness in your body.

          Drink More Pure Water

Drinking enought water, especially during activities, in the heat, in higher elevation, after exercise, after massage, Reflexology and other bodywork is very important.

Water helps any toxins that have been released from the muscles to be excreted out of the body through the normal channels - lungs, kidneys and skin (sweating).

Numerous studies have shown how important drinking good water is to stay hydrated, have good nerve and muscle function, clarity of mind, good kidney function, help prevent bladder problems, and help soften and nourish the skin and hair.

A word about water - drink the best and purest water you can find. Preferably NOT water that has been stored in plastic bottles that may have leached chemicals and plastic molecules into the water. Filtered water, fresh from the tap or quality spring water that has been stored in glass bottles is best.

A recent article from Dr. Mercola:
Drink More Spring or Filtered Water to Improve Every Facet of Your Health - by Dr. Joseph Mercola www.mercola.com 

"You’ve heard it repeatedly: make sure you drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. The key words are “at least,” because, unless you are a child or the size of a child, you need more water than that. The rule of thumb is, for every 50 pounds of body weight you carry, drink one quart of bottled spring or filtered water per day. The average person weighs 150lbs, so they should drink three quarts per day. A 200lb person should drink a full gallon per day. Athletes should drink even more than that. Follow these guidelines and you’ve adopted one of the most crucial health habits."

Fitness & Wellness Links of Interest:
http://www.fitness-wellness-guide.com/