Getting the Right Massage for Lower Back Pain

Stress, heavy lifting, and bad posture are all major contributors to lower back pain, which the majority of us will experience at some point in our lives. While these causes are innocent enough, the effects of the pain can be debilitating, especially in chronic sufferers of lower back pain. Let’s look at how massage can help with your lower back pain.

How does massage help lower back pain?

In the case of muscle aches in your lower back, massage helps to stimulate blood flow to the affected area. This speeds up recovery and repair by boosting the delivery of oxygen and a variety of essential nutrients to the muscle. Massage also helps by reducing tension in your body. Sitting at a desk all day tends to leave us tense around our neck and shoulders, which can, in turn, be a cause of lower back pain. Reducing tension in these areas as well as in your lower back helps to address the source of the pain as well as treating the symptoms.

Which types of massage are best for lower back pain?

Massage is an extremely effective treatment for lower back pain. But with so many types of massage available, how do you know which one is best for treating your back pain? Here are a few that you should consider.

Swedish massage – This massage involves fairly light pressure to the painful area. This has a relaxing effect, both physically and mentally, helping to reduce tension in your lower back.

Thai massage – With Thai massage, your massage therapist stretches you in various positions as well as applying some light pressure to target areas. This practice relieves tension in the muscles and joints, which can help to relieve back pain as well as treating any tensions that might be causing it.

Deep tissue massage – The strong pressure of deep tissue massage helps to improve the flexibility and suppleness of your muscles. This, in turn, helps to reduce any tension in your muscles and ligaments that could be causing your lower back pain.

AcupressureAcupressure involves applying firm pressure to trigger points in different parts of the body. As well as relieving tension in the target areas, acupressure is also done to direct energy towards affected areas in order to promote healing.

If you suffer from lower back pain, get in touch with Moonstone Massage to learn more about the types of massage we offer and how they can help your pain. We treat people with various ailments in Winston Salem, as well as providing massage treatment for relaxation purposes.


Massage Therapy and Back Pain

While some people have massages solely for relaxation reasons, others use it as a way to recover from injury or ease pain caused by a variety of conditions. Back pain is a common problem across the US, ranging from mild discomfort to debilitating pain. In fact, back pain is the leading cause of disability and most common reason for missing work around the world.

Rather than reaching for the painkillers all the time, massage is a natural way to relieve pain and even treat conditions that cause it.

How does massage help with back pain?

Massage therapy provides a number of benefits that can help to relieve back pain, including:

  • It stimulates blood flow to the affected area – Massage is known to increase blood flow. More blood flow to the affected area means that more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to it. This helps to aid recovery by essentially “feeding” the muscles what they need to grow and repair. Increased blood flow can also help to flush out the toxins that might be causing pain.
  • Decreases tension in the muscles – For people who sit at a desk all day, back and neck pain can be caused by excessive tension. The pressure from massage techniques helps to relieve this tension, relax the muscles, and improve their flexibility.
  • Increases levels of endorphins – Massage can also help to ease the perception of pain. This means that even when it doesn’t treat the cause of the pain, it can still help you to feel it less. This is because of the way it affects your neurons and triggers the release of neurotransmitters like endorphins and serotonin – the feel-good chemicals that can decrease your sensitivity to pain.

Which types of massage are best for back pain?

If you want to get a massage to help with your back pain, there are lots of different options. The following types of massages can help to relieve your back pain:

  • Deep tissue massageThis involves applying deep pressure to the muscles, which helps to relieve tension and work out any knots in the muscles which might be causing your pain.
  • Swedish massage – Swedish massage is similar to deep tissue but normally involves lighter pressure, making it a more relaxing massage.
  • Myofascial release – This type of massage targets specific trigger points in the muscle tissue. The therapist will identify tight spots and knots, working these out by applying pressure.
  • Hot stone massage – Heat can also be an effective treatment for relieving back pain, making hot stone massage a good choice, too.

If you suffer from chronic back pain or are recovering from a back injury, then speak to the team at Moonstone Massage to find out how our treatments can help you.


What to Expect Before, During and After Your First Massage

So, you’ve decided to treat yourself to your first professional massage. Whether you’re getting a massage to recover from an injury or purely for relaxation purposes, it should be something to look forward to. Many people get nervous about their first massage because they don’t want to expect, so we’ve written this blog to help mentally prepare you for it.

Before your massage

Get rid of those pre-massage nerves. A massage is supposed to be a relaxing, enjoyable, and therapeutic experience. It doesn’t matter what you look like or whether or not you’ve shaved your legs – your massage therapist is not there to judge you. They are healthcare professionals who treat bodies of all shapes and sizes every day.

There are a few things you can do to prepare your body for the massage, however. It is recommended that you are well-hydrated for your massage, so drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol the night before your massage. It also helps if your muscles are already a little relaxed, so a hot shower before your massage can be beneficial.

During your massage

The experience during your massage will depend on which type of massage you are getting. Normally, your massage therapist will talk to you first about what you’re expecting from the massage, if there are particular areas you want working on, and if you have any injuries or illnesses. They will then leave the room while you undress. Your level of undress is entirely up to you depending on what you feel comfortable with.

During the massage, your therapist will manipulate your muscle tissues and around the joints in different ways depending on the type of massage. It is important that you are comfortable during the massage, so try your best to relax and speak up if something isn’t right. If the pressure is too much for you, then tell them. If you’re wondering whether to make small talk during your massage, that’s up to you as well. Most people prefer to just relax in silence, but it’s perfectly fine if you want to talk.

After your massage

When you first get up from the massage table, you may feel a little lightheaded. Make sure to stand up slowly and drink some water after your massage. You will hopefully feel the benefits of relaxation and the loosening of muscles and tendons. You may feel a little soreness the next day, but this should pass quickly. You can help it by stretching before you go to bed the night after you’re massage and, of course, continuing to stay hydrated.

If you’re yet to book your first massage, then you can contact Moonstone or go online and book a massage with us today. We’re based in Winston Salem, NC, so come down and experience the benefits of massage with us.


Here’s What to Expect the First Time You Get Cupping

If you’ve ever seen someone’s back after receiving cupping therapy, then you might have been put off the idea of getting this treatment. The big, red circles on their skin make them look like they’ve just come off an alien spaceship or something equally bizarre. But, if you’d speak to the same person, they’ll more than likely tell you of all the great things about the treatment they just had.

If you’re interested in getting cupping done for the first time, read on for more information on what to expect from it. You can check out our blog explaining what cupping is first if you don’t know anything about it.

What happens during cupping therapy?

Cupping is normally done to your back, but can be applied to other body parts like the legs and arms. So, you’ll typically lie down on the massage table on your front. The massage therapist will heat up the cups and then apply them to your skin. The heat will create a vacuum between the glass and your skin so that the skin is essentially pulled into the space between.

How long does the treatment last?

This will vary depending on the clinic and the person administering it. Generally, the cups are left on the skin for around 10-15 minutes after being applied.

Does it hurt?

Most people agree that cupping doesn’t hurt at all, but that it does feel a little weird. At worst, cupping should feel like a deep tissue massage – a little uncomfortable but not painful. About those marks left over, they are not bruises. They are a result of the blood settling around the skin’s surface as a consequence of the sucking action. Some people find them slightly sensitive to the touch, especially the first time, but they should not bruise and should not be painful if the treatment is administered properly.

How long will those marks last?

This will vary from one person to the next, as will the appearance of the marks. Some people won’t even mark at all. Generally, these circular marks will fade in just a few days after the treatment. Some people will leave with darker cupping marks than others, which may take slightly longer to fade.

Cupping has lots of mental and physical benefits for anyone getting it, and the feeling can be even more intense after the first time getting the treatment. If you want to find out more about cupping or book your appointment in Winston Salem, NC, then contact us today.


Exercise is Better with Massage

Massage isn’t just for relaxing or recovering from injury; it is also a highly effective tool for aiding your training and exercise. Whether you’re an elite professional or are just trying to get in shape, everyone can benefit from massage in a number of ways.

Improve performance

Massage can boost your performance in a number of ways. It helps to improve blood circulation, not only during the massage but also in general as it makes circulation more efficient. This means more oxygen is delivered to your muscles during your workouts, helping you to last longer and be quicker. Massage also improves the flexibility of your muscles and range of motion around your joints. This can help you to move easier and achieve a better range of movement.

Prevent injury

Massage helps to make your muscles more flexible and reduce any tension in them, just like stretching before a workout does. It does this through the pressure applied to the muscles and surrounding tissues, helping them to become suppler and more pliable. As a result, massage helps to prepare your muscles for exercise, making injuries like tears and strains less likely to occur.

Speed up recovery

Similarly, you should always stretch after a workout to reduce soreness and chances of injury in the coming days. Anyone who’s experienced DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) knows that it can make training extremely difficult for the next two or three days, depending on how intense your workout was. Massaging the muscles helps to speed up your recovery time and alleviate pain by reducing tension in your muscles and also boosting blood flow to the muscles, meaning more oxygen and essential nutrients are delivered to them. This means you can get back on it sooner, which also goes for recovery after injury.

Psychological benefits

Sport and exercise are not just physical; the psychological component is also very important. Having the motivation to keep going and the ability to manage stress levels in high-pressure situations, such as games and competitions, helps you to train and perform better over time. The well-known relaxation benefits of massage can help with this aspect of sports performance, preparing you for exercise mentally as well as physically.

If you take part in a sport, go to the gym, or like to keep fit in other ways, massage can help you do more and achieve better results. Get in touch to find out more about our different types of massage or go online to book a massage with us today.


The Effect of Massage on Tension Headaches

Massage has almost countless benefits to our physical and psychological health. It is not only an effective way to relax and treat sore muscles, but it can also be used to treat or ease a number of illnesses and ailments that are traditionally left to modern medicine. These ailments include migraines and headaches, more specifically the tension headache.

What causes tension headaches?

A tension headache is a common form of headache that is generally described as a tightness in the head, as if something is compressing or restricting it, especially across the forehead and around the temples. It is not entirely known what causes tension headaches, but they are often associated with high levels of stress and even lack of sleep.

Other factors can make tension headaches more likely and can heighten the sensation, including bright lights, dehydration, and bad posture.

How can massage help sufferers of tension headaches?

Painkillers can bring relief to sufferers of tension headaches, but it does not prevent them from reoccurring. Plus, if you regularly suffer from these kinds of headaches, then it is not a good idea to be taking painkillers for them as frequently as you might need. When it comes to relieving tension headaches and even getting to the root cause of them, massage is an effective treatment that’s a natural alternative to medication.

For pain relief, massage helps to relieve pressure from around your neck and shoulders as well the head itself. High levels of stress and sitting at a computer and desk all day can lead to a lot of tightness in the neck and shoulders, which could be a contributing factor towards tension headaches. Massaging these muscles helps to relax and loosen them, releasing the tightness that can affect other surrounding areas.

Massage can also help to decrease stress and anxiety, helping patients to relax more easily. As stress is thought to play a major role in the cause of tension headaches, massage can seriously help to reduce their frequency as well as reducing their severity and length when they do occur. The relaxing effect of massage also makes it easier for patients to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Improving their quality of sleep also majorly reduces stress levels throughout the day.

If you regularly suffer from tension headaches, then massage therapy might be just what you need to relieve your pain and stop those headaches int heir tracks. Get in touch if you would like more information about our treatments, or you can book with us directly online.


Why Gemstone Massages Are the Next Big Thing in Self-Care

Gemstones like amethyst, topaz, jade, and many others don’t just look pretty in jewelry and ornaments, they also have a number of health benefits for your mind and body. As a result, they have started to be more frequently incorporated into health and spa treatments, including massage.

What is a gemstone massage?

Simply put, a gemstone massage is a massage that uses the power of gemstones to achieve a greater sense of peace and energy flow through the body of the recipient. Gemstones are applied to the body, focusing on certain pressure points and chakras, and massaged over the skin. As well as gemstones themselves, gemstone wands can also be used in massage, and even massage oils containing traces of certain gemstones. Gemstone facials can also be carried out using these oils and the stones themselves.

Different gemstones are associated with different properties and benefit, affecting the emotional quality and energy flow of the body as well as physical benefits. Your massage therapist may ask you some questions about what you hope to achieve from the massage in order to determine which gemstones are best suited to you.

What are the benefits of getting a gemstone massage?

Of course, a gemstone massage offers all of the benefits that a regular massage does, as similar actions are being performed, plus the added benefits that gemstones are thought to bring. Gemstones are used to interact with your body on a vibrational level, helping to restore the balance in your body by affecting your energy field. Negative energy is cleared, leaving you with a greater sense of peace and relaxation.

In terms of the different gemstones that can be used in this type of massage, here are a few different properties ascribed to them:

Aquamarine – Energizes and brings a greater sense of balance and harmony, restoring peace and happiness.

Ruby – Ruby is often associated with power and beauty, so it can be used for those lacking in confidence. It is thought to empower and clear the negative emotional energy that leads to self-doubt and low self-esteem.

Sapphire – This blue stone is linked with tranquillity and vitality. As it is linked to the throat and brow chakras, it is also used for patients suffering from headaches or a sore throat, bringing a sense of healing to these ailments.

Pearl – Pearl is a great gemstone for soothing and relaxing. It brings a calming energy and also helps to purify the mind and body.

If you are interested in gemstone massages or any other type of massage, then contact us at Moonstone Massage or book online today.


The Science of Massage: 5 Ways Massage Makes You Feel Better


It has long been known that massage feels good and can be beneficial to our health even as far back as Hippocrates. Over time, people began to realize specific health benefits of massage therapy, like lower blood pressure and a reduction in stress levels. However, it wasn’t until recent years that a greater understanding of the science behind these benefits was really gained.

Let’s look at some of the physiological effects of massage to understand how it actually makes us feel better.

Reduce stress – Cortisol

You always feel so relaxed after a massage, and the results can last for days afterward. This isn’t just because of the soothing touch and relaxing atmosphere. It’s also caused by a reduction in cortisol levels in your body, i.e. the stress hormone. Less cortisol lowers stress and anxiety levels, helping us feel more relaxed and to sleep better at night.

Boost immune system – Lymphocytes

After a single 45-minute massage, participants in a scientific trial were found to have increased levels of lymphocytes. While your red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen around the body, these white blood cells are in charge of fighting off disease and infection. So, higher levels of lymphocytes equates to a more efficient immune system, reducing your chances of getting ill.

Increase energy levels – Mitochondria

Something else you’ll find more of in your post-massage body is mitochondria. These are found inside the cells of your body and are responsible for respiration – the process that releases energy for our body to use. More mitochondria means higher energy levels, making you feel less lethargic.

Lower blood pressure – AVP

A hormone called arginine vasopressin, or AVP, is responsible for constricting your blood vessels, among other things. This means that less blood can flow through your body and to your muscles and organs. Studies have shown that massage can reduce AVP levels, therefore helping to lower blood pressure. This has a number of benefits, like improving heart health and reducing the risk of stroke and other conditions.

Boost your mood – Endorphins

Less stress and higher energy levels are bound to have positive effects on your mood, but it’s not just that. Massage has also been shown to boost the levels of endorphins in your brain. Increased levels of the endorphins serotonin and dopamine produces happy feelings, helping to boost our mood for some time after receiving a massage.

The proof is there, and many doctors are now recommending professional massage to their patients as a treatment for various ailments. Book a massage with us today to feel the benefits that massage can offer you, or get in touch to find out more about our services.


What’s Included in My Massage?

When it comes to getting your first massage, or even just your first with a new therapist, some people can get nervous not knowing what to expect from it. If this is putting you off booking a massage, then this blog is here to calm your nerves. You can read all about what to expect from your massage and what will be included.

How to prepare for your massage

Before you come in for a massage, there are certain things you can do to improve its effectiveness and make the experience more comfortable for you. You should make sure you are well hydrated, remembering to drink plenty of water the day or two before your massage.

Having a full stomach or full bladder during your massage could make you uncomfortable, so make sure you don’t eat too much right before the massage and that you go to the toilet before your session. Drinking alcohol the night before or on the day of the massage could also disrupt its effects and can be harmful.

What areas will be treated?

This will depend on the type of massage you go for and what you want from it. Some massages will cover the entire body while others will concentrate on smaller areas. Massage typically starts on your back and then moves down to your legs and then any other body parts involved in the massage.

If you have an injury that needs treating or anywhere that is particularly tight, then this can be focused on. You can discuss this with your massage therapist in a pre-session consultation with them, so they are aware of anything they need to know.

Most massages involve your massage therapist applying pressure directly with their hands and maybe their elbows for those tough spots. Others, however, may use other resources like hot stones for a hot stone massage or suction cups for cupping.

Available add-on services

There are various add-on services that are available with your massage, so you can ask your therapist about these before you start or when you book. One service that we include as standard with your massage is a head massage. This is an extremely relaxing form of massage that most people agree feels great! It has other benefits, too, like relieving headaches and promoting hair growth. However, you can ask for this to be skipped if you’re not comfortable with it.

If you have any more questions about our massage services and what to expect from them, then you can check out our FAQ page or get in touch with us online or by phone.


Tips for First Massage Therapy Experience

Uses of massage therapy re different for each person. It may be a special treat you rarely experience, or it may be part of your weekly routine. Either way, you’ll have to experience the environment for the very first time. If you have questions about massage therapy etiquette, you’ve come to the right place.

Once you’ve decided to get a massage and chosen a massage therapist, you must be honest with yourself as to the reasons you’re getting a massage. This will help your therapist provide the best service.

If you have booked an appointment be sure to arrive about 10 minutes early for your first session. You may need the time to fill out some paperwork and meet your therapist.

Your visit will typically begin with a consultation with your massage therapist. Let them know the reasons why you’re there – pain relief, relaxation, or you just want to see what it’s all about – and they will be able to customize your appointment to help meet your needs.

One of the most common questions we hear is “What should I wear during my appointment?” This experience is all about your comfort, so come dressed however you like. During the session, you’re allowed to wear as many or as few items of clothing as you feel comfortable in. You will be fully covered during your session and we’ll accommodate you any way we can to help you feel more at ease.

Communication leads to relaxation. Your pre-session consultation will give your therapist an idea of the type of massage you need, but don’t be afraid to speak up during the session. Let them know if they are applying the right amount of pressure or if they are working in the right location. Our therapists are trained experts, but they can’t read your mind. Open communication will ensure the best massage experience possible. Communication could also help identify add-on services that will best enhance your massage.

After your massage, enjoy the feeling of rejuvenation. Hydration is typically recommended after a long massage session. If you appreciated and enjoyed your service, you can leave a gratuity for your masseuse. Don’t forget to book your next appointment before you leave! Having the experience and knowledge of the offerings fresh in your mind will allow you to book the ideal service for next time.