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What is aromatherapy?

With every massage given at Moonstone Massage Therapy here in Winston-Salem, we offer aromatherapy. While this is a complimentary addition to each massage, we felt that perhaps some of our readers would be interested in what that truly means. Aromatherapy is something that many take part in during their day to day lives without ever realizing it.

 

What is aromatherapy?

Smells can stir memories, bring up emotions and can help us feel at ease. Some scents can stimulate the brain and help us focus more while others are much more soothing and can help us relax. This is, in its simplest form, aromatherapy. During a massage, essential oils are used to aid in your experience. It all depends on which scent you choose and your personal preferences as to the effect of your entire experience.

 

What is an essential oil?

Essential oils are created using aromatic parts of a plant. For some, this may be the bark, for others, it may bearomatherapy Winston-Salem the leaves or even a root. The oil is made in various ways, depending on the plant, but most often by distillation. This is where the plant matter is steamed until it completely breaks down. It is then cooled and separated from the water. What remains is the essential oil.

 

While most of what we use essential oils for here at Moonstone Massage Therapy involves the scent of the oil and its effects through smell, many are used for much more. Each type of oil has its own unique qualities. Some are antibacterial, others are antimicrobial, or anti-inflammatory, but each has their own unique qualities that make them helpful.

 

Not just for massage

If you enjoy the feeling aromatherapy gives you, there are a number of ways you can practice it at home. There are plenty of different styles of oil diffusers on the market. Some are fairly simple in design and others are meant to match the decor of your home. Thanks to the increase in popularity you can find them at your local Target or Walmart.

 

Taking a warm bath with a few drops of your favorite essential oil or putting a few drops on your skin (always diluted by mixing with a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil!) is an excellent way to enjoy their scent on your skin. Some prefer to do this rather than wear perfume.

 

Popular scents

There are a number of great essential oils but some of the more popular ones are:

 

Patchouli – has mood lifting qualities

Chamomile – popular for its soothing traits

Lavender – one of the most popular for relaxation

Peppermint – energy boosting

Rose – popular with women

Eucalyptus – powerful scent that improves concentration

Rosemary – great memory booster

Sandalwood – a woody and masculine fragrance

Jasmine – sweet scent that is relaxing

Ylang-Ylang – very strong and relaxing scent

 

While you may be familiar with some of these, others may be new to you. Next time you come in for a massage, why not try a different scent for your complimentary aromatherapy? If you are unsure which to choose, your massage therapist would be happy to help you find your new favorite scent.

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Massage Therapy for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia mostly affects women and can cause chronic pain, fatigue, and other symptoms, like migraines. Fibromyalgia has affected approximately 5 million Americans, according to the NIAMSD. Women are affected much more than men by a 9:1 ratio. The main age range when fibromyalgia is diagnosed is between 20 and 50. While you should always follow a treatment plan prescribed by your doctor, massage has been shown to help fibromyalgia sufferers manage their symptoms and find relief over time.

 

Our therapists at Moonstone Massage Therapy in Winston-Salem understand that those who suffer from fibromyalgia may have issues with pain. This in turn can make them sensitive to touch. For this reason, we want you to keep lines of communication open during your massage session. Our top priority is your relaxation and a pain-free experience, Please make us aware of any pain, discomfort, or other physical sensations during the massage so we can adjust according to your needs and pressure tolerance. Generally, the massage will start with a light to medium pressure and then is adjusted based on your comfort level.

How can it help?

Those that suffer from fibromyalgia often say that they aren’t able to get a good night’s sleep. Their discomfort can leave them tossing and turning each night. However, those that receive massage therapy often feel they sleep much better that night. This is most likely due to the fact that massage can increase serotonin levels.

 

In addition to better rest, a study done by the University of Miami, Touch Institute, that focused on finding what benefits massage had for fibromyalgia had more to say. The study showed that there was “increased serotonin level, decreased circulating stress hormones, decreased levels of substance P (basically a pain messenger), decreased tender point pain, improved sleep patterns, and improved overall sense of well-being.”

Mental Clarity

Some find it also helps with the “brain fog” many experience as a symptom of their fibromyalgia. Many sufferers describe this fog as having difficulty thinking or remembering things. Massage can help with mental clarity and focus for anyone. Yet is especially useful for increasing the concentration and awareness of clients with fibromyalgia.

Pain Management

Many find that getting a regular massage helps with their pain management and sleep patterns as well as their mood. Dealing with fibromyalgia can be mentally taxing. By taking the time to relax and enjoy a massage, you are giving yourself a much-needed break. The benefits of massage can truly help with your discomfort, mental clarity and let you release some of the stress you may be feeling in your body.

 

If you decide to come to Moonstone Massage Therapy in Winston-Salem, we want you to know we take fibromyalgia seriously. Our massage therapists have extensive training and experience, coupled with an understanding of the needs of clients with chronic pain. During our intake process, we will ask for your medical history and symptoms before the session. This will help us create a customized experience since fibromyalgia is different for everyone.

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Can Migraine Sufferers Benefit From Massage?

If you have ever suffered from a migraine, you know these are no ordinary headaches. A migraine is often set apart from a traditional headache due to the severe throbbing as well as nausea and light sensitivity that can accompany it. Many consider migraines and tension headaches to be the same. Both are triggered by stress and tension headaches are just as the name implies, triggered by some sort of stress or tension. It could be a rough week at work or just day to day life piling on the tension. Migraines can be almost debilitating to those who experience them. While there have been many medical advances when it comes to treating them, some are looking for a more natural alternative.

 

One natural alternative that seems to be helping migraine sufferers is regular massage. Tension headaches are triggered by stress, and massage is known to help with that. Massage has been shown to increase the levels of serotonin in the body, which is a feel good hormone that can help you feel much calmer and at ease. When it comes to helping you relax and feel at peace a nice, calming massage is hard to beat. With stress and the headaches that come with it, the muscles that are in your neck and shoulders can be tight.

 

While there hasn’t been much research done on the effectiveness of massage, there was one study done by the University of Miami School of Medicine. They took two groups of people who suffered from migraines. One group was told to take their medication just as they would as usual with no massage, and the other took their medication and received massage. Those in the massage group did not experience a migraine during the study and also found that they were sleeping better as an added bonus.

A Word of Caution

Those who are sensitive to touch during a migraine may not find a massage during an episode to be beneficial. However, regularly having a massage in between any migraines could help with the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. It seems as though there are many different types of massage can be helpful, but deep tissue massage seems to be quite helpful in between. Reflexology can be great, also.

 

Yet if you are beginning to experience pain from a migraine, deep tissue work could actually make things much worse and worsen the pain. When it comes to deep tissue massage, it’s also important to keep your comfort in mind. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable or tensing up, make sure you speak up. The massage therapist can’t possibly know if you are feeling any discomfort if you don’t let them know.

 

If you are considering trying massage in order to help with your migraine or tension headaches, we would love to talk! We at Moonstone Massage Therapy can help you determine what the best course of action would be in order to keep your stress levels lower and much more manageable.

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All About Hot Stone Massage

Hot stone massage is a unique form of massage therapy that uses heated stones to relax and soothe the mind and body. These flat and smooth stones are placed on various places on the body in order to warm those tense muscles, making it easier for the massage therapist to work out any tightness or tension in the body. This form of therapy is also very soothing during those colder fall and winter months and for those that are always feeling a bit chilly. Some people also find the weight and warmth of the stones comforting. There is a very good reason why this type of massage is so extremely popular!

 

What to expect during a hot stone massage

At the beginning of a session, a towel will be placed on the body where the stones will be placed.The massage therapist will have heated the stones in an electric heater that allows them to control the temperature. They are then placed in strategic locations on the body, usually along both sides of the spine, along the legs or on the hands. The massage therapist will take into account any medical history or muscle tension the client has been having. Some will then move the stones around and use them to perform the massage itself. If at any time the stones feel too warm or uncomfortable, you should tell the massage therapist immediately. It may take a few minutes for the heat to penetrate the towel in order to determine if they are too hot for your comfort.

 

Conditions that may be helped by hot stone massage

There are a number of benefits to adding a hot stone treatment to your next massage. The warm stones are able to help circulation as well as ease back pain or arthritis pain. Just like any massage, it can help reduce stress and anxiety as well as helping with insomnia or depression.

 

Hot stone massage throughout history

Written documentation showing that the ancient Chinese used heated stones to improve organ function over 2,000 years ago. There has been evidence of heated stones being used in many different countries around the world including Egypt, India and North America. Each used them in their own unique ways from sweat lodges, laying them in patterns on the body, and more.

 

The practice was reborn in 1993 when a massage therapist in Arizona began offering a modern version of this treatment. Now, massage therapists around the globe are offering this calming form of massage. Each has their own individual way, but all have the same basic principles.

 

If you have never had a hot stone massage therapy session, we would love to show you how wonderfully soothing it can be. We have a number of massage therapists at Moonstone Massage therapy that are certified in hot stone massage that would be happy to share this modality with you. Just let us know the next time you book your session that you would like to add on a hot stone massage and we can walk you through the process.

 

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How to Ease Plantar Fasciitis

If you have plantar fasciitis, you know it can be very painful and make it difficult to walk or even put weight on your foot. It’s actually the most common cause of pain in the heel. All of that pain is caused by a weak or inflamed plantar fascia, which is a flat band of tissue that connects your toes to your heel bone. This is what makes your heel or the bottom of your foot hurt when you walk.

Plantar fasciitis is usually found in middle-aged people and those who are often on their feet. Many find the pain is worse when they wake in the morning then eases later as they walk on the affected foot. Unfortunately, plantar fasciitis is difficult for doctors to treat.

A common approach for doctors is to use steroid injections, but these often do not offer much relief. Experts are starting to see that stretching and massage therapy can be extremely effective for plantar fasciitis relief.

Massage therapy for plantar fasciitis

An outpatient physical therapy clinic in Israel conducted research that concluded massage was a very promising treatment for plantar fasciitis. They studied 69 individuals that suffered from the condition and were referred by an orthopedic surgeon. They divided these individuals into two groups. One was given ultrasound treatment combined with stretches and the other was given massage therapy and stretches. Over six weeks they were given eight treatments, yet only 51 people completed the study.

After the study completed, the researchers found massage to be extremely useful. Ten minutes of deep tissue massage on the posterior calf muscle combined with certain stretches were more helpful than the ultrasound and stretching.

This is very easy for a massage therapist to fit into a session. If you have been suffering from plantar fasciitis, speak with your massage therapist. They can add some deep tissue work to your regular routine to help provide relief.

Plantar fasciitis stretches

For long-term relief, you should incorporate some simple stretches into your day. This will help keep everything loose and limber, which in turn will ease the pain you feel. It is recommended that you do these at least once a day for maximum benefits. WebMD has some great moves to help you stay on your feet for longer.

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Why you should offer chair massage to your employees

Offering chair massages to your employees may seem like an odd thing to do. Yet it is becoming more commonplace in the corporate world. Some offer them as a part of their corporate wellness program, while others use it as an incentive. Google has their very own massage therapist that states they have massages available eight hours a day, five days a week. Companies that truly care about their employees are starting to take measures to help keep their valuable employees healthy and happy. There are a multitude of benefits to offering a corporate chair massage to your employees.

 

To begin with, company massage decreases employee turnover. By offering regular massages to your staff, you will increase productivity and they will be happier to work for you. Stress and unhappiness are often why an individual chooses to leave their job. By helping them destress and feel more productive, your staff will want to stay with you for even longer. Corporate massage also helps reduce anxiety and depression which aids in keeping everyone on task and focused.

 

Unhappy, frustrated employees are absent more often. Stress can manifest in a number of physical ways which, in turn, causes them to call in sick. Regular chair massage helps with tense muscles and back pain as well as insomnia. These may not be serious injuries, but employees will “play hookie” for these types of ailments. Major projects at the office will put serious pressure on them and in turn cause them to call in sick.

 

There are many benefits to regular massage that many are often not familiar with. In addition to providing relaxation and stress relief, there are lots of lesser-known benefits. It is great for boosting the immune system. Massage can help support the immune system as well as aid in reducing those stress hormones that can drag down the immune system. Some studies have shown regular massage helps with other issues such as ADD/ADHD, fibromyalgia and emotional disorders.

 

Not only will it help you keep the employees you have, but it will help attract new talent as well. Corporations that offer chair massage to their staff are looked upon as top places to work for. You will no longer have to look for the best, they will start coming to you as well. Corporate wellness programs are what many companies are turning toward as benefits for their employees. These programs help enrich the lives of their staff and keep them healthier and happier than they would be otherwise. By implementing corporate chair massage into your corporate wellness program, you are showing everyone that those who work for you are important to you and that you care about their well-being.

 

Lastly, healthcare costs can be a big expense for corporations. Carpal tunnel and tendonitis are common issues that cause workers compensation claims. Regular massage is great for helping with these disorders and other repetitive task injuries. Not only that, some of the most expensive healthcare costs can be helped with regular massage and in turn reduce costs.

 

With massage, it’s a bit like getting ahead of any potential problems that may arise later. You may think of it as an unneeded expense, but in the long run you could actually cut company costs and create happy as well as healthy staff.  Bringing in a massage therapist even once a month can make a dramatic difference. Contact us at Moonstone Massage Therapy to book a corporate chair massage for your company.

 

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How Your Desk Job Is Impacting Your Body

— According to recent findings, while many occupations in the past 50 years involved “moderate” physical activity the current job layout is extensively sedentary “desk jobs”.  It is estimated that now 80% are these “desk jobs” involve minimal activity. With the workforce being essentially tied to their desks, the epidemic of neck and shoulder pain is wide-ranging and leading many individuals to having a muscular imbalance/alignment issue called “rounded shoulders”.

This piece will analyze the common occurrence of “rounded shoulders,” a common muscular imbalance that creates a slouched appearance, over extending the neck and shoulder muscles and curvature in the spine.  In addition, the importance of receiving body work will be discussed in respect to alleviating this frequent problem. 

As stated earlier the common issue of rounded shoulders is a muscular and postural imbalance between a person’s chest and back/neck/shoulder muscles.  This lack of balance leads to muscular weakness in the chest while also causing much pain and tension in the shoulders and neck. Having these tight chest muscles, specifically pectoralis major and minor, the muscles in the upper back and shoulders like trapezius and rhomboids are shifted forward and placed in a position causing even more tension and pressure. This extra stress is a large component as to why people have pain in neck and shoulders. This is further exacerbated in the sitting position, with the shoulders positioned further out of alignment thus making working at a desk all day painful for your neck and shoulders.

Body work can do wonders for an individual with rounded shoulders by stretching the neck and chest muscles. Performing movements that “pin and stretch” both the neck and chest muscles at various commonly found trigger points can bring oxygenated blood flow to the muscles. Many times, in my practice when I notice this imbalance, I commonly suggest beginning the session in the supine or “face up” position. Starting here allows the chest muscles to be stretched, lengthened and reset into their more anatomically correct position. Gravity is also an ally in this position, lowering the shoulders in proper alignment, lifting the tension from the neck. Many bodywork sessions are primarily focused in the prone or “face down” position working on the posterior of the body. This back work takes over the session in both focus and time. Starting supine with the neck allows for stretching and range of motion and get a proper assessment of the extent to which the clients shoulders are rounded forward. As a massage therapist, I admit when beginning with back work I can get caught up working out all the knots in the back as they readily appear there but I would argue it’s time for the neck and chest to get their due.

-Caroline D Lamy

Want to book an appointment with Caroline? Call 336.918.8115 or Click Here.

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How Tight Muscles are Impacting Your Golf Swing

For many of my massage therapy clients playing golf is a favorite pastime they feel passionate about. For my golfers, competition is everything. They always want to be at the top of their game.  

Many don’t realize that Golf is a full-body sport. The golf swing is a dynamic movement in which the entire body is engaged from head to toe. It is imperative that avid golf enthusiasts exercise building muscle strength and flexibility to avoid injury and play their best game possible. When muscles are tight not only can it cause them to become injured, but it can also have a major affect on the effectiveness of their swing.

IMPORTANT MUSCLES THAT IMPACT YOUR GOLF GAME

Below are a few of the key muscles/muscle groups to make sure you are keeping fit and flexible in order to keep your golf swing at an all time high. 

Neck & Shoulders

The neck is made up of small muscles. When a golfer has poor neck posture and weak muscle control this can cause muscle fatigue.  Weak shoulders require you to rely on other muscles to compensate – this is one of the most common reasons for overuse and injury of the wrists. When weakness in the neck and shoulders is a factor, many rely on their wrists in an attempt to stabilize the swing.

Arms & Wrists

Excellent wrist flexibility is crucial for an accurate downswing.  Grip strength and forearm endurance is important in holding the club accurately. When arm and wrist muscles are tight or fatigued an accurate golf swing is hard to accomplish.

Hips

Tight hips often cause players to have a hard time keeping their pelvis stable while they are swinging the club back. When the pelvis becomes imbalanced it can cause incorrect weight shift to the front foot. This simple shift could really impact the players shot. 

Hamstrings

Anyone who has ever felt pain in their lower back after a long round, or has struggled to reach down for the ball without shooting pains – you are probably experiencing tight hamstrings. When the hamstring are tight they shorten. This causes the pelvis to be pulled underneath which makes the spine have to compensate by stretching more than it should. This stretch causes 

stress of the neck and shoulders and leads to reduced swinging power.

RELIEVING MUSCLE PAIN FOR GOLFERS IN WINSTON SALEM

Another common issue I often treat through massage therapy is golfers elbow (also known as tennis elbow, or medial epicondylitis). These “swinging” sports put a lot of stress on the elbow joint and can lead to a lot of pain. Golfers elbow is cause by overuse and is usually felt where the common flexor tendon attaches to the humerus near the elbow joint.    

If you feel muscle tightness in any of these muscle groups, don’t wait until your golf game starts to suffer, make an appointment today!  To schedule, all you have to do is give us a call: (336) 918-8115

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What are the Benefits of Salt Scrubs?

FIRST, A LITTLE ABOUT SALTS…

Sea Salt has natural relaxing and soothing properties. Unlike the processed product you find in your salt shaker, sea salt maintains its natural minerals. The minerals in sea salt, (potassium, iron and zinc) have a neutralizing effect on acids in the body.

Epsom salts, like sea salt, also contain beneficial minerals. Magnesium is the key mineral in epsom salt, which the body requires for muscle contraction, relaxation, nerve functioning, and more. The sulfates in all salt types are key for flushing out toxins.

SO WHAT ARE SALT SCRUBS?

Salt scrubs are used as a popular body treatment to soften skin. After the scrub is applied by gently massaging it into the desired area of skin ( which can be anywhere from face to feet) the scrub is washed off to reveal smooth, glowing skin.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SALT SCRUBS?

Exfoliation – Using salt to scrub away dead skin leaves room for fresh cells to generate and leaves your skin looking and feeling great! When applying these scrubs it is ideal to move rub in a circular motion in order to be most effective.

Increased Circulation – By stimulating your body by either massaging the salt scrub into your skin yourself, or having it applied by a professional massage therapist, you increase blood flow. Increased blood flow can relieve pain and lead to an increase in energy.

Relaxation – Salt scrubs can be infused with an aromatic essential oil like lavender, mint, etc. These soothing aromas have various beneficial effects from boosting mood to assisting with sleeplessness.

Moonstone massage offers salt scrubs that can be scented your way OR you can pick from one of our pre-made mixes.

To purchase your own jar today, or for any questions, call me at:

(336) 918-8115

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How dehydration Affects Your Massage

Most of us don’t even come close to drinking enough water each day. According to The Institute of Medicine, “men should drink approximately 13 cups (3 liters) of water each day, and women are supposed to drink at least 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water daily.” This is a challenging goal to attain, and many of us are dehydrated.

Dehydration often causes symptoms such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness
  • Thirst
  • Dry skin
  • Headaches
  • Etc.

Dehydration also has its own set of effects when it comes to massage. Your therapist can tell when you are dehydrated just by the way your muscles feel. Hydrated muscles feel pliable and are easy to grab onto and move around. Muscles that are dehydrated are much more difficult to manipulate for an effective massage. Another reason to keep hydrated before a massage is because when you are properly hydrated, you are less likely to feel bruised or sore afterward.

To avoid all of negative effects of dehydration and give your body the fluids it needs to stay alert and focused it is ideal to:

  • Drink water with each meal
  • Drink water between meals
  • And drink water throughout all exercise

Ready to schedule a massage? Remember to drink plenty of water and give us a call!
336-918-8115