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A Guide to Aromatherapy

 

Are you interested in alternative or complementary therapies to improve your mental, physical, and emotional health? Aromatherapy is a popular practice that can be combined with a variety of other treatments, including massage and facials. Read on to find out more about aromatherapy and how it can help you.

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a type of holistic, complementary therapy that has been around for thousands of years. It involves the use of essential oils to boost your physical and emotional wellbeing in a variety of ways.

Essential oils are natural compounds extracted from plants. The name ‘essential’ does not refer to them being vital to human health but, instead, to the extraction of the plant’s ‘essence’. These aromatic compounds are distilled and combined with a carrier oil to form the essential oil, which can then be diffused in the air for its pleasant smell or applied directly to the skin.

Lots of different essential oils are used in aromatherapy, here are some that are commonly used:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Fennel
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree
  • Ylang ylang

The benefits of aromatherapy

People reap the benefits of essential oils by either inhaling them or absorbing them through the skin. This means they are a great pairing for lots of different types of massage. You can also use them at home by mixing some into your bath water, for example.

While different people may experience slightly different benefits of using essential oils and aromatherapy treatments, here are some ways it could help you:

  • Promotes relaxation
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Makes it easier to fall asleep at night and improves sleep quality
  • Reduces pain and stiffness in the joints
  • Helps to manage pain from a range of conditions
  • Relieves and helps to prevent headaches and migraines
  • Helps cancer patients manage the side effects of chemotherapy treatment
  • Boosts your immune system and helps you fight viruses and other illnesses
  • Improves and aids digestion

With these benefits, aromatherapy and aromatherapy massage can be beneficial for a range of people, including those suffering from asthma, insomnia, menstrual cramps, depression, anxiety, inflammation, cancer, arthritis, and more.

At Moonstone Massage, we can use essential oils during your massage or facial to help you get the most out of your treatment. Get in touch with us to discuss this with your massage therapist or book an appointment with us online for your next massage.

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Do Massage Chairs Work?

 

If you’re looking for ways to stay relaxed and keep your muscles in good condition between professional massage appointments, then there are various ways you can try to self-massage at home. We recently discussed massage guns and how effective they are. In this article, we’re going to look at massage chairs to see if they can help and whether or not they are worth it.

What is a massage chair?

A massage chair is a comfortable chair with a headrest and a footrest. It may use various mechanisms to produce relaxing massaging effects. Mainly, massage chairs use motors to create vibrations, utilizing vibration therapy to stimulate and massage muscles all around your body. More advanced models may feature other mechanisms such as rollers, which may move in circles or other patterns and directions to massage the muscles in contact with those areas.

Depending on the complexity of the massage chair, you may be able to control its various features plus the speed or intensity of the vibrations using controls built into the chair or via a remote control.

So, how well do massage chairs actually work when it comes to achieving the same effects and benefits of professional massage? Let’s look at some of their benefits and limitations.

The benefits of massage chairs

Massage chairs can be incredibly relaxing and stress relieving. Imagine sitting in front of the television with the light touches and vibrations from your massage chair melting away all your tension. As well as feeling nice, this can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, help you sleep better at night, and relieve physical tension that can lead to stiff and sore muscles.

Another big benefit is that you can use it every day if you own one, whereas you’re unlikely to have the time and budget to have a professional massage every day. Massage chairs can be useful for people with back pain and poor posture as they help to align and lengthen the spine by keeping you in a comfortable, supportive position. The vibration and other methods of stimulation also help to increase circulation like professional massage does, which can have a variety of benefits.

The limitations of massage chairs

While massage chairs are a relaxing experience that you can enjoy on a regular basis, they can’t achieve everything that a professional massage therapist does. Massage therapists use a variety of techniques to achieve the desired effect, and they are able to understand your pain points and alter their technique or target specific areas to help you in the best way. Most massage chairs simply use vibration to offer a few benefits to you, mentally and physically.

If your muscles or joints need treatment, if you’re just looking for a way to unwind and reduce stress, then book a massage treatment with Moonstone Massage, or get in touch to find out more about our variety of treatment options in Winston Salem, NC.

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The Benefits of Facials

Spa treatments like massages and facials have a variety of wonderful benefits for you both physically and psychologically. Having a facial treatment on a regular basis is great for your skin and is also a relaxing and invigorating treatment that you’ll enjoy. Read on for some of the main benefits of getting a facial.

Healthy looking skin

Professional facial treatments leave you with softer, smoother, glowing skin. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells for a fresher looking face, and moisturizing products prevent dry skin so that your face looks and feels softer.

And facials aren’t just about the rejuvenating products applied to your skin. They also use facial massage techniques that help to increase circulation to the area. This means your skin cells get more of the oxygen and nutrients they need to give you healthy-looking skin.

Reduce signs of aging

Facial massage techniques and the lotions and creams used on your face help to boost collagen production. This helps to improve the elasticity of your skin, keeping it tighter and helping to prevent or reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Keep your skin properly hydrated through regular facials also helps to slow down signs of aging. All of this adds up to smoother, younger-looking skin.

Treat skin blemishes

Blemishes on the skin can make us feel self-conscious and leave us reaching for make-up to cover it up. Regular facials can help to clear up and even prevent blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne breakouts. Facial massage and their related skin treatments can even help to prevent the marks left behind by acne or reduce the appearance of acne scarring over time. The use of massage and eye creams can also help to reduce the appearance of bags and dark circles under the eyes.

Relaxation and stress reduction

The gentle motions of facials combined with the nice smells and soothing feeling of the skin products used during a facial are extremely relaxing. If you need to unwind at the end of a long, busy week or find new ways to manage your stress levels, then a facial treatment is a great option. Facials are also great for treating yourself or a loved one on a special occasion.

At Moonstone Massage, we offer 30, 60, and 90-minute facial appointments, whether you need a quick pick me up or a full pampering session. Get in touch to find out more about our different facial treatments or book an appointment online with us in Winston Salem, NC.

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The Effect of Massage on Scars

Your scars are evidence of battles you’ve fought and survived, whether it’s from an accident, a surgery, or even something like stretch marks from pregnancy. Still, visible scars can make you feel self-conscious, so people are often looking for ways to reduce the appearance of their scars. Let’s look at how massage can help to get rid of scars.

How do scars form?

After damage occurs to the skin in the form of a cut, for example, the body works hard to repair the damage. The scar that’s left behind is a result of this healing process. A wound triggers your immune system to protect the body from further damage or infection. Initially, the blood clots and a scab is formed, preventing bacteria from entering the wound. Inflammation also occurs as white blood cells are sent to the site to fight bacteria and infection from within.

Cells are then sent to the site of the wound to produce collagen, a connective tissue that acts to essentially fill and close the wound. What’s left behind is an area of skin that’s often slightly paler than the surrounding skin and may be raised, depending on how much inflammation occurred. The scar will fade over time on its own, but won’t completely disappear unless the wound was only minor.

How can massage help?

Massage can help to break down scar tissue, both internally and externally. For example, a joint injury may be caused or exacerbated by scar tissue around the joint and in surrounding tissues, inside your body. Treatment such as deep tissue massage can help to break down this scar tissue, reducing pain, increasing mobility, and speeding up recovery.

This same process can treat scars on your skin, too. When done the right way, massage helps to break down the collagen fibers that form your scar, helping to realign the tissues and reduce the size or appearance of the scar over time. Massage can also be used to reduce the initial formation of a scar after a surgery or injury by reducing inflammation and speeding up recovery. This can also help to reduce or manage the pain caused by the healing process and scar formation.

If you want to try massage for scar reduction or for whatever reason, such as relaxation or injury recovery, then contact us at Moonstone Massage to find out about the massage services we offer in Winston Salem, NC, or book your massage appointment online.

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Spas vs. Independent Massage Therapists

There are lots of places out there where you could go for a massage or other treatment, so how do you know which to choose? There are a number of factors to consider, but one of the big ones is whether to go to a big spa, an independent massage therapist, or a small, local massage business.

Read on for some of the pros and cons of spas and independent massage therapists to help you decide where to book your next treatment.

The benefits of going to a large, chain spa

A big chain spa business is likely to have large premises and lots of fully trained staff with different specialties. This means they are likely to have more availability than smaller businesses, making it easier to get appointments when you want without having to wait. They may also have a greater selection of treatments to choose from other than massage, all with professional staff and comfortable, relaxing treatment rooms.

The benefits of going to a local spa

Smaller, local spas usually have a smaller selection of treatments available, or they might offer just as much as the bigger spas. It really varies from one business to the next. However, it is likely that they will have smaller premises and, therefore, fewer treatment rooms and fewer employees. Employees at small or local spas should still be highly trained professionals, ensuring that you get a quality massage treatment.

One big benefit of local spas compared to chain spas is that they are likely to offer a more personalized experience and level of customer service. With fewer employees and, usually, fewer customers, they can get to know their customers better and understand what they need from their treatment. Also, you can feel happy with the fact that you’re supporting a small, local business.

The benefits of going to an independent massage therapist

Like local spas, independent massage therapists can get to know their clientele better and offer a personalized service. Plus, you still get that nice feeling of supporting a local entrepreneur and improving the success of their business. This kind of massage therapist may be less regulated than those in spa businesses. So, while most are well-trained professionals, there may be more variation in skill and experience levels when choosing an independent massage therapist.

Independent massage therapists often don’t have their own premises, meaning they offer massage therapy in the homes of their clients. This can be good or bad, depending on your individual opinion. On one hand, it is extremely convenient, making it easier for you to fit massage into a busy schedule. You may also feel more comfortable being massaged in your own home than in an unfamiliar place. Other people, however, may feel less comfortable doing this in their own home. They may also find it less relaxing, particularly if you have kids or pets running around the house while you’re getting massaged.

If you’d like to book a massage treatment at your local spa in Winston Salem, NC, then get in touch with Moonstone Massage or book via our online portal.

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Tips for Better Skin

Whether it’s acne, dry skin, wrinkles, or medical conditions like eczema, we all face skin problems at some point in our life. These problems can be difficult to manage because, as well as the discomfort that comes with some of them, they can also impact our self-confidence and body image.

If you’re looking for ways to improve the way your skin looks and feels, then read on for tips from diet to massage therapy.

Eat and drink healthily

It’s still not certain whether eating chocolate and greasy foods causes acne, but what you eat can have an impact on your skin. Eating food that’s rich in vitamins and other nutrients can help to keep your skin looking healthy, while processed foods can have a negative impact. Staying hydrated also benefits your skin as it keeps your skin cells hydrated, too. So, drink plenty of water and avoid excess alcohol consumption.

Sleep well

You know that a bad night’s sleep can result in dark, puffy circles under your eyes, but it can also lead to premature signs of aging, such as wrinkles, as well as increasing your likelihood of acne breakouts. Regularly getting a good 7-8 hours of sleep per night could shine through on your face.

Skincare regime

Not everyone needs the same skincare regime, and it doesn’t always have to be filled with expensive products, but doing certain things to look after your skin can help it look great. Sun protection should be one of your main priorities, so make sure you always wear sunscreen outdoors, even on days when the sun isn’t particularly bright.

You should also make sure that you don’t leave makeup on overnight. Cleanse and moisturize your face before going to bed at night to help you wake up looking refreshed. Occasionally adding a facial into your regime can also help to rejuvenate your skin and keep it looking smooth and youthful.

Massage for better skin

Yes, massage can also help you achieve better skin. This is mostly down to the increased circulation and blood flow to the massaged area, helping to deliver more essential nutrients to the skin cells as well as flushing out toxins more effectively. The results of regular massage on the skin include:

  • Reduced appearance of lines and wrinkles
  • Reduced appearance of acne
  • Brighter skin
  • More supple skin
  • Less dry skin

If you want to see how facials and massages can contribute to your skincare regime, then contact Moonstone Massage to find out more or go online to book an appointment with us in Winston Salem, NC.

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The Pros and Cons of Massage Guns

 

The health and wellness industry is one that’s filled with crazes and fads, some that can be incredibly helpful while others are more questionable. And it can often be difficult to tell the difference. At-home massage can be an effective way to experience some of the benefits of professional massage at a lower cost and from the comfort of your own home. And plenty of massage products claim to provide these benefits, from foam rollers to massage chairs. One of the most recent crazes is the massage gun.

In this article, we’ll look at how massage guns work, whether they work, and some of the pros and cons of using them compared to professional massage.

What are massage guns?

A massage gun is a handheld tool that you can use on your own muscles to mimic the techniques used by massage therapists in order to massage the muscle tissue. Massage guns feature an oscillating head that works your muscles, often with various head attachments of different shapes and sizes to target different areas of the body. They also have different speed and strength settings to adjust the impact of the ‘massage’.

Like traditional massage, these products are said to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, speed up recovery after a workout, increase blood flow to the area, among other benefits. Massage guns can be expensive, but there are lower-cost options available, too. Typically, prices vary from anywhere between $150 and $700.

How do they work?

Massage guns work your muscles using a technique known as percussive therapy, also known as vibration therapy. However, the tool doesn’t vibrate, it oscillates extremely fast, essentially hitting the targeted body part repeatedly, multiple times every second. So, percussive therapy is the more accurate description of how massage guns work.

The effect of this is that your nervous system becomes stimulated by the sensation, prompting the body to respond in ways that increase blood flow, releasing tension, improve range of motion, and promote pain relief.

Massage guns vs. traditional massage

Massage guns can be effective at speeding up recovery times and relieving muscle tension, which can be particularly useful after a run or workout. They can benefit us the best when used in conjunction with professional massage therapy. Professional massage can be much more effective because you can just lay there and relax your entire body while being treated. This is important to getting the most out of a massage.

However, most people aren’t able to get a massage every day or even a few times a week. So, a massage gun can help to supplement regular professional massage treatment. If you go for a run or to the gym three times per week, then you can use the massage gun after each workout and then enjoy a professional massage every two weeks, for example.

Are you looking for muscle relief or recovery around Winston Salem, NC? Then contact Moonstone Massage or go online to book an appointment with us.

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Oxytocin and Massage Therapy

 

There are a number of reasons why getting a massage feels so great, both during and after the treatment. One of these reasons is completely chemical, and it all comes down to something commonly known as ‘the love hormone’ – oxytocin. Read on to find out more about this hormone, how it affects us, and how it’s linked to massage.

What is oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone that’s produced in the brain and secreted by the pituitary gland. Its primary roles are related to reproduction, childbirth, and breastfeeding. A number of things can trigger the release of oxytocin. For example, when uterine contractions begin during childbirth, oxytocin is released to increase or maintain contractions to assist with labor.

How does it affect us?

Other than the above examples, oxytocin is thought to affect us when it comes to love, bonding, and social interaction. Whether with friends, romantic partners, or your children, the release of oxytocin when we hug or cuddle has been found to increase bonding and trust. It also helps you feel more relaxed, can reduce stress and anxiety, and can increase tolerance to pain, essentially acting as a form of pain relief.

Oxytocin is particularly important in establishing the strong emotional bond between a mother and her newborn child. It also plays an important role in strengthening the bond between romantic partners and is released during sexual activity.

Massage and oxytocin

One of the reasons why oxytocin is released when we cuddle is due to the skin-on-skin contact. But can other forms of touch have the same effect? Yes, the touch of massage has also been found to increase the production and release of oxytocin in the brain, of the person giving the massage as well as the one receiving it.

This increase in oxytocin can explain some of the good feelings associated with massage, including:

  • Relaxation
  • Stress and anxiety relief
  • Decreased pain sensation
  • Elevated mood

If you’re feeling low, then a massage could be exactly what you need to improve your mood. It can even help to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. From our understanding of oxytocin, we can see that these beneficial effects of massage are at least partly due to chemical changes in our bodies. It’s one of the reasons why getting a couple’s massage is so great for strengthening your relationship.

If you want to book a massage appointment for yourself or a loved one around Winston Salem, Pfafftown, Lewisville, and Clemmons, then contact Moonstone Massage or use our online booking portal to schedule your appointment.

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Can Massage Provide Relief for Arthritis?

 

Arthritis is a joint condition that can seriously impede mobility and range of movement, while also being extremely painful. There are lots of different types of arthritis, and they don’t just affect the elderly like is commonly thought. There is currently no way to cure arthritis, but it can be treated to help manage the pain and stiffness, and to help slow down the progression of the condition.

In addition to any treatment or medication prescribed by your doctor, massage can be effective in helping to manage the pain and stiffness associated with many types of arthritis. Regular massage therapy can even allow patients to rely less on medication, offering a natural form of pain relief.

Why is massage good for arthritis?

Many of the benefits of massage are thanks to the increase in circulation caused by massage treatment. This increase in blood flow can aid healing in the affected areas. It also helps to reduce inflammation, which is often a contributing factor to the pain and stiffness around arthritic joints.

Massage is also good for flexibility. Massaging the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around a joint helps to relieve tension and generally loosen things up. This can result in greater mobility and also less pain as the stiffness and lack of flexibility are addressed.

The best types of massage for arthritis

Before receiving a massage, make sure to inform your massage therapist of your condition and which joints are affected. As well as adjusting their pressure or technique to accommodate any pain or discomfort, they may also be able to recommend the best type of massage to suit your needs. As with any massage, let your massage therapist know if the pressure is too much so they can adjust for you.

These are some of the best types of massage that can help arthritis sufferers:

  • Swedish massage – The long, kneading strokes help to reduce tension in the muscles and joints.
  • Deep tissue massage – A deeper, firmer massage that’s ideal for targeting specific joints that are affected by your condition.
  • Shiatsu massage – Targeting pressure points around the affected joints can help to improve flexibility and range of motion.
  • Lymphatic massage – Helps to drain excess lymphatic fluid that can cause inflammation

If you suffer from arthritis, then talk to your doctor for advice on whether massage can be a beneficial complementary therapy for your condition. Contact Moonstone Massage for more information about our different massage services or book a treatment via our online portal.

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How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis

If you’ve ever had plantar fasciitis, then you’ll know how painful it can be. There are a number of ways to try to manage the pain and speed up the healing process, and massage can be one of them. Read on to find out more about plantar fasciitis and how to treat it.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that affects the plantar fascia, which is the ligaments that connect your heel bone to your toes. It is caused by inflammation of this tissue, leading to pain in the heel and arch of your foot. This can affect one or both feet and can feel like a sharp pain or a dull ache.

Pain from plantar fasciitis typically fades while the patient is active, but flares up again after high levels of activity. It is also worse when you first stand up after sitting down for a while or when getting out of bed in the morning.

What causes it?

The main cause of plantar fasciitis is excessive pressure on the ligaments in your feet. So, anyone who is extremely active is more likely to suffer from this condition. This means that runners and athletes commonly develop plantar fasciitis, as well as anyone in a profession where they are on their feet all day.

Excess weight also increases the pressure on your feet, making plantar fasciitis more likely. As a result, pregnant women and anyone who is overweight or obese are more likely to experience this pain.

Some people may be more prone to plantar fasciitis due to structural differences in their feet, such as tight Achilles tendons or flat feet. Additionally, wearing shoes that are ill-fitting or have poor arch support over long periods of time makes this condition more likely to develop.

Treating plantar fasciitis with massage

Plantar fasciitis can be treated and managed primarily through rest and anti-inflammatory medication. You can also help to speed up the recovery process by icing your foot and performing foot stretches and exercises to loosen and strengthen the ligaments.

Massage can also help to stretch the ligaments and improve their flexibility while also increasing blood flow to the area, which promotes healing. But it’s not just the sole of the feet you need to focus on, the muscles running down the back of your lower leg and ankle also connect to the heel. If these areas are tight, then this will place more strain on the plantar fasciitis.

There are some self-massage techniques you can try yourself, but for a more effective treatment, book a professional massage to help loosen all the muscles and ligaments that could be causing your pain. Contact Moonstone Massage for professional massage treatment in Winston Salem, NC.