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Stretching and Massage

Flexibility is an important part of athletic performance, but it can also aid you with everyday activities and retaining your mobility as you age. Performing regular stretches is one way to improve your flexibility over time. Massage can also help to boost your flexibility as the techniques used help to make your muscles more supple and reduce tension in them.

Since they both aid your flexibility, stretching and massage go hand in hand. Stretching can help you get the most out of your massage treatment and, together, they can greatly improve your mobility and flexibility.

Stretching before a massage

Like massage, stretching helps to boost circulation. This means that more blood is delivered to your muscles, along with all the beneficial nutrients it carries. This is especially useful if you are having a massage intended to speed up recovery after an injury or a tough workout. Stretching will also start to relax your muscles, ensuring they are ready for massage.

Your back, legs, and hips are a few areas you should focus on during your pre-massage stretches. Simple lengthening stretches like touching your toes will help to stretch out your muscles, relax them, and get the blood pumping to them.

Stretching after a massage

Just like stretching after a run or a workout, stretching after a massage has a number of benefits. It’s common to feel a little sore after a massage, either that evening or the next day. Stretching can help to reduce or prevent this soreness, as can other remedies like taking a hot bath after a massage. If you had a massage to treat soreness or injury, then stretching afterward will further help to speed up your recovery time.

Stretching your muscles also helps to boost the effects of the massage and maintain them for longer, particularly in terms of relaxation and flexibility of your muscles. Hamstring stretches like touching your toes while standing or sitting are beneficial, as are stretches for the lower leg like the standing calf stretch.

Stretches for the spine and back muscles are also advised. Try the cat-cow yoga pose or a knee hold where you lie flat on your back and hug your knees close to your chest. In the same way, activities like yoga and Pilates are greatly complementary to regular massage therapy.

If you’d like more advice on boosting the benefits of your massage treatments, then contact Moonstone Massage for more information or to find out about our massage services.

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How to Draw the Perfect Relaxing Bath

You can’t always find the time to book and get out of the house for a massage appointment, but there are ways you can promote relaxation from the comfort of your own home. Having a bath is one effective way of relaxing, and it can even have additional health benefits like lowering your blood pressure.

But not all baths are created equal. We’ve got some tips to help you draw the perfect bath to soothe and relax you.

Pick your timing

Ideally, you want to be able to block out some time where you can enjoy your bath distraction-free, which will be a challenge for some people. Firstly, leave your phone out of the room or at least turn it on silent. If you have kids, then schedule your bath for while they are sleeping or while your partner or someone else is looking after them. If you have pets, you might also want to wait until they’re sleeping or until your partner or a family member is out walking your dog, for example.

Set the scene

The environment you take your bath in can also impact your relaxation. You might want to play some soothing music or light some candles around your bath, just make sure you are careful. If there’s a noisy street outside your window, then keep it shut during your bath. Prepare a drink to enjoy while you bathe, and perhaps something to keep you entertained like a good book, magazine, or Netflix on your laptop (far away from the bathwater!)

Choose your ingredients

There are lots of different things you could add to your bath, like bath salts, bubbles, and essential oils. Think about both the scents they add and the effects they have on you. For example, Epsom salts can be used to soothe aching muscles or you could add lavender oil to aid stress relief. Other ingredients might just add a pleasant smell to enjoy during your bath time.

Have a towel at the ready

Before you step into your bath, make sure you haven’t forgotten the towel. Realizing this halfway through could disrupt your relaxation. Grab a clean, comfortable towel and hang it up in the bathroom so it’s ready to wrap you up once you get out.

Like a massage, a good bath can do wonders for your level of relaxation and can also help to soothe your muscles and aid recovery. You could even take a bath after your massage appointment to achieve optimal relaxation. If you’re interested in the different types of massage offered here at Moonstone Massage, then contact us to find out more.

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How to Improve Your Quality of Sleep

 

A lot of things can disrupt our sleeping patterns. Stress, anxiety, unusual work schedules, poor sleep environment, and much more. But not getting enough sleep or getting a poor quality of sleep does more than just exhaust us. It also has consequences for both our mental and physical health. You’re more likely to get sick when you’re not sleeping well, you’ll be more stressed, less able to focus at work, and more irritable.

If you’ve ever had sleep problems, then you’ll know how unpleasant it can be. We want to make sure everyone gets a good night’s rest every night, so we’ve got some tips to help you improve your quality of sleep.

Set the scene

Your sleep environment is really important, too. If your bedroom is too hot, too cold, too bright, or too noisy, then you’ll probably find it more difficult to fall asleep. Assess your sleep environment to see if any external factors could be affecting your sleep. It might be an old, lumpy mattress, a gap in your drapes, or noise from traffic outside your window. Try to improve your environment for a better night’s sleep.

Get into a routine

If you work Monday to Friday, then you probably enjoy staying up a bit later at the weekends and staying in bed longer in the mornings. But this is disrupting your sleep schedule more than you realize. If you always wake up and go to sleep at a similar time, then your body and its circadian rhythms will get used to it, making it easier for you to fall asleep and wake up at those times.

Try not to take naps during the day as this can make it more difficult to get to sleep at night. And there are certain things you should avoid doing late at night so that they don’t disrupt your sleep:

  • Drinking caffeine
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating sugary or heavy food
  • Staring at screens that emit blue light
  • Exercising

Relax

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious about anything, then this can also prevent you from falling asleep easily at night. If this is something you struggle with, then try to create a relaxing night time schedule. You could take a relaxing shower or bath in the evening, read a book before bed, or meditate before you go to bed. Receiving massages on a regular basis can also help you destress and improve your sleep.

If you’re having sleep problems, then why not find out if a relaxing massage could help you? At Moonstone Massage, we offer lots of different massage types in Winston Salem, NC. Get in touch to find out more.

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Beat DOMS with Massage Therapy

It’s a great feeling to finish a tough workout. You’ve got the feeling of accomplishment making you feel good along with the endorphins produced in your body as a result of intense exercise. But the next day might be a different story. If you wake up with sore muscles the day after working out, let’s look at how massage can help you.

What does DOMS mean?

DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness, and it is a commonly used term among gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts. It is referred to as ‘delayed onset’ because you don’t feel it immediately after your workout. Typically, this pain and stiffness comes the next day or later on in the same day. This feeling can last for several days after a workout.

It typically occurs when you push your body harder than it’s used to or when you perform exercises that your body isn’t used to. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve pushed your body too hard. This pain is thought to occur due to tiny tears in your muscle fibers occurring as a result of your workout. When these tears heal, your muscles will be stronger than they previously were. So, DOMS can be a sign that you are improving and becoming stronger.

How can massage help?

Certain things are thought to reduce the effects of DOMS, such as stretching before and after a workout, taking ice baths, and increasing your protein intake. But how can massage help?

Massage improves the circulation of blood around your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your muscles more efficiently. This can help them to recover more quickly, reducing the pain and duration of delayed onset muscle soreness. The improved circulation also helps to remove toxins, such as lactic acid, from your body more efficiently. Massage can also help to reduce any inflammation that could make your pain worse.

So, getting a sports massage, a deep tissue massage, or any kind of massage after a workout could alleviate the pain you feel the next day and help you recover from it more quickly. You can also get a massage when you’re feeling sore from DOMS in order to speed up your recovery, but it could be a more painful experience. If you are feeling sore during a massage, you can tell your massage therapist so that they can adjust their pressure accordingly.

If you want to book a sports massage with our massage therapists, then get in touch or use our online booking system to arrange your massage appointment.

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What is Mindfulness?

More and more people are starting to realize that our mental wellness is just as important, if not sometimes more so, than our physical wellness. So, it’s necessary to have tools in our kit that are effective at managing our mental health and wellness. Of course, we’d recommend massage therapy as a beneficial treatment for both mental and physical wellness, but that’s not the only thing that can help you.

Mindfulness is one of the latest buzzwords that’s all the rage in the world of mental health, but what exactly does it mean? Let’s learn more about mindfulness and how it can help you.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is all about being present and living in the moment. So often, we’re busy doing two things at once while thinking or worrying about a dozen other things. By doing so, we’re not fully involved with what we’re doing.

You’re working but you’re not as productive as you could be because you’re not fully focused. Or you’re spending time with a loved one but they feel ignored because you’re distracted by your phone and worrying about all the work you have to do tomorrow.

The practice of mindfulness is essentially the opposite of these behaviors. It’s about being fully present in the moment and being aware of where you are, what you’re doing, or what you’re thinking about. So, if you’re eating breakfast, you’re not scrolling on Instagram, planning your day, and thinking about what you’ll eat for dinner. You’re present in the room and being fully aware of the tastes and textures of what you’re eating.

The benefits of mindfulness

It sounds so simple, yet mindfulness can be a very difficult practice, especially in the modern world where there are distractions all around us. But practicing mindfulness on a daily basis, even just for 30 seconds at a time, has a plethora of benefits. It can…

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Reduce stress levels
  • Manage depression symptoms
  • Improve self-esteem and body image
  • Improves concentration and attention span

You can read even more of the amazing benefits of mindfulness in this article.

How can you be more mindful?

There are a number of ways to practice mindfulness. The best way to start is with guided mindfulness meditation sessions. You can find these on YouTube or through an app like Headspace. These sessions will guide you through what to do, but they’re essentially about simply being with your breath, your thoughts, and your feelings without challenging them or trying to push negative feelings away or focus on positive ones.

Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can practice mindfulness anywhere and anytime. You might have a 5-minute mindfulness session before you go to sleep or you might just take a 30-second break from work to practice mindfulness. You can practice mindfulness while you’re eating, walking, or taking a shower. Or even while you’re having a massage!

Contact us if you want massage therapy to be a part of your self-care and mindfulness routine. We offer massage services around Winston Salem, Pfafftown, and Lewisville.

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Fitting Wellness into A Busy Schedule

You know how important it is to look after your own health and wellbeing – we’re talking about mental and emotional health as well as keeping fit physically. But many of us are simply too busy with work, family, and everything else to fit self-care into our daily routines.

We’re here to remind you that wellness and self-care are too important to sacrifice. So, to help you out, we’ve got some easy-to-follow tips to help you fit wellness into your ultra-busy schedule.

Schedule small self-care periods every day

You don’t have to find two hours in your schedule to look after yourself. It could be just 5 minutes of meditation after you first wake up in the morning or 15 minutes of yoga after the kids go to sleep.

Wake up earlier

If your mornings are usually hectic, set your alarm a little earlier to wake up before everyone else and enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet. You can dedicate this time to whatever you don’t usually have time for. Even if you’re not a morning person, you’ll get used to the earlier alarm if you make yourself stick to it.

Prioritize sleep

A good night’s sleep can do wonders for you. If you often stay up late watching TV, messaging with a friend, or out partying, then you’ll feel the sleep debt the next day. Try to set a bedtime routine and stick to it every night, helping you get to sleep earlier and improve your quality of sleep.

Depend on others

No man is an island, so don’t be ashamed to ask others for help or a break. If you need an hour to yourself for a full body massage or spa appointment, then ask a friend or family member if they can babysit for you. There’s bound to be someone who can help you, and you’ll feel so much better and more relaxed from it.

Give yourself a break

Days off are so important for our mental health and wellbeing. If you tend to work yourself ragged, then remind yourself to take breaks more often and give yourself a day off at least once a week. Working too much is detrimental to your productivity as well as your health. It’s important to listen to your body – there will often be signs that you need a break and a proper rest.

If you want to fit a weekly or monthly massage into your schedule, then contact Moonstone Massage to find out about our range of massage services in Winston Salem, Pfafftown, Lewisville, and Clemmons. Or go online and book an appointment with us today.

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How Can Massage Help Your Mental Health?

 

We’ve written lots of blogs about the benefits of massage on your physical health, but did you know that massage can also help you manage your mental health better, too? Here are some of the great ways your mental health could benefit from regular massage therapy.

Reduces stress

Massage therapy is a great source of relaxation. It helps to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies, which can be a major source of mental health issues in the modern world. When we’re stressed out about work, family life, money, or our health, we can experience changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, and a lower sense of self-worth, among other things. Massage is a natural way to help you fight this.

Reduces symptoms of depression

Depression is a complicated disorder that can have a number of contributing factors. Partly, it is related to a depletion of or fluctuations in neurotransmitter levels. Physical contact, like hugging someone you love or receiving a massage from a professional, triggers the release of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which play an important role in elevating and regulating your mood.

It also releases the hormone oxytocin, which is known as “the love hormone.” This also helps to boost your mood and promote feelings of bonding. Overall, regular massage helps to improve your mood, which can help you manage the symptoms of depression better.

Relieves anxiety

Massage helps to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, like a fast heart rate and irritability, which in themselves can make your anxiety worse in a vicious circle. As well as the relaxing effects of massage on your mind and body, massage also activates the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which has a number of anxiety-reducing effects.

Improves sleep quality

People with stress and anxiety often find it difficult to get to sleep at night and may find themselves waking up in the middle of the night, not being able to rest properly. Depression also has negative effects on your sleep, commonly leading to problems like insomnia or sleeping too much. The relaxing effects of massage help to promote better sleep quality, making it easier to fall asleep, stay asleep, and reach the deep sleep stages. So, massage is a natural way to tackle sleep problems that come with various mental health disorders.

If you are suffering from mental health difficulties, then it is still important to seek help from a medical professional. But, for many people, massage can act as an effective complementary therapy that supports the effects of therapy, improves mental health, and reduces the need for medication.

Get in touch to find out more about the massage services we offer or book an appointment with us online.

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Why You Should Reschedule Your Massage If You’re Sick

 

Cold and flu viruses are flying around all over the place at this time of year. If you’re unlucky to catch one and have a massage appointment coming up, what should you do? Will the massage help to relieve your sickness or should you cancel and reschedule your appointment?

The best thing to do is reschedule your appointment if you have symptoms like a cough, sore throat, runny nose, blocked nose, and fatigue. Here are the main reasons why…

It can make you feel worse

Massage helps to flush toxins and waste materials out of your body. When you’re fighting a virus or infection, there are a lot of toxins circulating around your body, toxins that your body and immune system are already fighting hard to get rid of. The effects of a massage will exacerbate this, making it harder for your immune system to fight and worsening your symptoms. You’ll likely feel much more sick, tired, and sore after a massage.

It could ruin the massage experience

A massage is supposed to be a relaxing experience. If you’re constantly sniffing, sneezing, and coughing, then you’re not going to be very relaxed. As you sneeze and cough, you’re using muscles in your body. As your muscles tense up, the actions of the massage won’t be as effective and your massage therapist may have to stop until your coughing or sneezing fit has passed.

You could make others sick

If you’re sick, then you may be contagious. Going in for a massage then has a high risk of you passing your germs onto the massage therapist. A sick massage therapist must take time off work until they’re better because they don’t want to infect all of their clients. You should reschedule your appointment when you’re ill in order to avoid infecting your massage therapist. Plus, even though massage studios carefully sanitize after each client, you could still leave airborne germs that could infect others that come into the studio.

Massages can be helpful during flu season

Although you shouldn’t get a massage if you’re ill, massages can be beneficial in general during flu season. Massage boosts the immune system, which could help to prevent you from becoming sick. It also relieves stress and tension, and we are much more likely to get sick when we are stressed.

So, if you’ve caught a cold, make sure to tell your massage therapist and reschedule the appointment for after your symptoms have passed. If you want to book or reschedule a massage with us, then get in touch or use our online booking system.

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Getting Fit in 2020? Massage Can Help…

It’s the time for new year’s resolutions, and an ever-popular one is to lose weight, get in shape, get fit, or maybe even gain weight if you’re looking to pack on some muscle. Whichever it is, exercise is almost definitely involved. It’s likely that you’ll be pushing your body by exercising more frequently or introducing types of exercise you’ve never done before.

You’re likely to find this difficult at first as your muscles get used to being used in different ways and the extra pressure you’re putting on them to work harder. You’re likely to feel sore and stiff the next day, but don’t let that stop you from working toward your goal. Just take a rest day, get plenty of sleep, keep eating right, and get back to it the next day.

The importance of rest

Even take two or three rest days if you need. Rest days are really important when training your body as this is when your muscles repair themselves and grow stronger. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to injury, illness, and demotivation, all factors that make you less likely to achieve your goals.

It’s important to be patient and take it slowly, especially if you have low fitness levels to start with. You might start by exercising just once or twice a week. As your body gets stronger and fitter, you can then increase this as you progress.

How massage can help you stick to your new year’s resolution

Massage can also help you out when it comes to that post-workout soreness. A sports massage or deep tissue massage after your workout helps to decrease the soreness you’ll feel the next day. This speeds up your recovery time, meaning you can get back to the gym (or whatever your choice of exercise is) sooner.

Massage also improves the suppleness of your muscles and the mobility of your joints, helping to reduce your chances of injury. Simple injuries like pulling a muscle while working out could prevent you from training for weeks, which could seriously derail your efforts. Looking after your body with regular massage sessions helps to keep you in good shape.

As you continue exercising, your body will start to become more accustomed to it, so you won’t feel the same levels of soreness you did when you first started out. But, in the meantime, you can book a massage therapy session with Moonstone Massage to keep you working toward your goals in 2020. Get in touch to find out about the massage services we offer.

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Getting Through the Dark Winter Months

There are times in winter when it’s dark when you leave for work in the morning and dark when you leave work at the end of the day. This combined with the cold can be a real downer. Many of us long for the spring and summer days to come back around. But don’t wish your days away. There’s plenty to enjoy in the winter! Here are some ways to boost your mood if you find it difficult during the winter months.

Sadness and SAD during winter

It’s only natural to feel a little down when it’s always dark and cold outside. Sunlight energizes our bodies, making us feel more awake and alert. When there’s a lack of sunlight, the natural effect on our energy levels can affect our mood. This is usually nothing to worry about.

However, there is a condition known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which is a form of depression. People with SAD experience depressive symptoms mostly during the winter when there is less sunlight and warmth. If you consistently feel low during winter, then it’s advisable to see a doctor to determine whether you have SAD and how it can be treated.

Ways to boost your mood

If the winter blues are getting to you, here are some simple, natural ways to help boost your mood.

  • Exercise – Going for a run in the cold might not sound appealing, but exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. Whether you exercise at home, outside, in a gym, or elsewhere, get moving this winter.
  • Massage – Massage is another activity that releases endorphins, and you don’t have to break a sweat for this one. Human contact naturally elevates your mood, plus all the other amazing benefits of getting a massage.
  • Warm up – The best thing about a cold winter’s day is wrapping up warm in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate. There’s something about being warm and cozy inside when it’s bitterly cold outside that seems to warm the soul.
  • Good company – Don’t isolate yourself in the winter. Make sure you surround yourself with friends and family members you enjoy spending time with. Animals also make great company with guaranteed mood-boosting effects.

What works for you when cheering yourself up during the winter? If you want to book a massage for yourself or a loved one, then contact Moonstone Massage or go online to book an appointment.