Types of Massage Therapy for Runners

Many runners use massage as a regular part of their athletic practice; not only does it feel great to tired, sore muscles, but it can speed up recovery and healing time. There are many types of massage that benefit runners, and they each help with specific areas.

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Active Release

Active release uses both movement and deep pressure to reduce scar tissue build up; if you have a specific injury, or are worried about re-injuring an old problem area, your massage therapist may use this technique to prevent scar tissue from forming.



Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is popularly known as a relaxation massage - but the long, flowing strokes release tension stored in sore muscles and increase blood flow for optimal healing time. If you have a competition coming up or are doing intense workouts, talk to your therapist about the benefits of starting Swedish Massage. 


Deep Tissue

As the name suggests, deep tissue goes deeper than the superficial layers of muscles, and is fairly intense. Unlike Swedish Massage, deep tissue focuses on specific areas rather than the muscle group as a whole, making it a great option when you’re hitting a specific area of your body really hard in workouts



Trigger Point

Trigger Point therapy “triggers” specific knots and pain points and uses deep pressure to loosen those areas. Like Active Release, this therapy is a very effective injury treatment for issues like IT tightness, calf strains, and other injuries that cause spasms and tightness in specific muscles. 

If you’re a runner or serious athlete, talk to your massage therapist about the benefits of regular massage; whether you’re training for an upcoming competition, or are simply looking to maintain your healthiest body as a runner, massage therapy techniques can keep your body working and healing itself to its fullest capacity. 




Massage Therapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects millions of Americans each year; not only is it a painful condition, but it can negatively impact your ability to work. Recovery plans typically involve corrective surgery - but massage is a non-invasive solution that can not only relieve the pain, but aid in turning the syndrome around.

Carpal Tunnel is caused by inflammation of the median nerves within the carpal tunnel of the wrist. If you do work such as typing, working an assembly line, or any other job that requires repetitive motions of the hands or wrist, you’re at a higher risk of having the condition. When those median nerves are inflamed, it can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and immobility. 

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While there are other non-invasive treatments such as wrist splints, these only aid in limiting your mobility, not in working to heal and re-open those tunnels. Massage therapy addresses the inflammation and pain by using deep tissue work to soften and stretch the muscles not only within the wrist, but in the shoulder, neck, and hands - by addressing all areas around the wrist, and not just the point of pain itself, those muscles can be softened and trained to relax and function normally again. 

At A Kneaded Touch, we believe healing can be found within your body - ask your massage therapist about relief for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome using our massage techniques. 



Benefits of Cupping Therapy for Athletes

Have you seen those purple, round bruises cropping up on Olympic Athletes? They’re the result of an ancient massage therapy technique called cupping - and there’s a reason they’re so popular among the world’s top athletes. 

Cupping is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy that uses a hot glass cup on a patient's skin to create a vacuum that draws up the skin tissue to move or stimulate your body’s natural energy (qi). Because cupping increases the blood supply to a specific area, it can help to heal sore, tired muscles more quickly and efficiently. 

But does it really work? While some people don’t feel a huge difference, many athletes are dedicated to the practice because of how quickly it can aid the body in healing; because cupping draws blood into your tissue, your body acts as if it has been injured and jumpstarts the healing process, giving you faster healing in less time. 

One worry many athletes have before trying cupping is the level of pain; if it’s leaving behind bruises, does it hurt? Most people report that the technique has a “hurt so good” feeling - just like when you’re getting an intense massage or rubbing out a painful muscle group (although the sensation is different). While it may be uncomfortable initially, it’s not painful, and the benefits far outweigh any discomfort you may feel during the process.


Talk to your massage therapist about cupping and if it would be a benefit to your athletic training. 



Massage as Active Rest

Athletes use their muscles regularly, at higher levels than non-athletes. The repetition of activity is what helps an athlete build their body in a way that magnifies their athletic ability at the highest level they are able to achieve. 

On the other hand, a great athlete knows that their muscles need REST just as much as they need movement and exercise. If you look at the workout calendar of an athlete, you’ll see ‘Rest Day’ on there a good amount, because they know that a part of their plan for reaching their goals is to give their body a break and let it naturally build itself back up in between intense physical exercise sessions.


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Active rest is when an athlete does a lower-key, alternative activity on their rest day. A good rest day activity is something that gets the muscles moving, but with significantly less strain than on a regular workout day. A runner might do light yoga stretches or a one-mile walk on a rest day. A body builder might go for a light jog or swim some laps. All of these activities get the body moving, get the blood flowing, and allow the muscles to recover in a natural way.

An active rest activity that is beneficial for all athletes is therapeutic massage. It may be one of the best active rest activities because, if you go to the right therapist, they can tailor the massage to the muscles and movements used in regular exercises, applying the perfect amount of pressure to recovering muscle groups to guide them in their state of rest into optimal recovery. 

Talk with your massage therapist about scheduling massage on regular rest day intervals, so your body can get the maximum benefit of all the hard work you put into reaching your athletic goals!

Massage after Auto Accident

Car accidents can lead to more injury than we usually realize, even low speed collisions. Often, due to natural pain mechanism and stress hormones of body, people don’t realize the extent of their injuries for 24 to 48 hours. This is the reason why you often hear how important it is to get checked out by physician and get massage therapy after the accident, even if you think that you feel okay.

A car accident that may not have caused injury to vehicle will cause injury to passengers and driver. Some of the common injuries after less serious car accidents such as being rear fended or even those sudden stops without any collision will lead to whip lash as well as sprains, strains and back issues. Injuries often damage or affect the surrounding tissues around the spine, including disc or facet joints as well as areas like shoulders, neck and collar bone. Common injuries will include the following:

· Lower back pain

· Myofascial pain

· Headaches                                                                          

· Cervical, shoulder, thoracic and lumber sprain or strain.

· Whiplash

Whiplash injury is a common injury that people may not realize they are suffering from in the beginning. With symptoms getting worse after few days, they may only realize the pain when they will realize that pain hasn’t gone away even after a few weeks or days as expected. Proper treatment and proper evaluation will help you avoid unwanted sufferings and also prevent an injury from becoming a chronic condition.

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A common treatment for injuries and whiplash is massage therapy. Massage therapy will provide the following benefits:-

·Reduce spasms and associated stiffness and pain

·Improve scar tissue (softening stiff tissues to let nutrients and blood supply come back to the affected area)

·Decreases anxiety and stress including enhanced serotonin levels.

·Low blood pressure

·Helping soft tissues to function properly

·Releasing endorphins (happy hormones)

Based on your injury and where you are during the healing process, your massage therapist will consider trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage therapy, manual traction, and Swedish relaxation massage or myofascial release.

Massage for Endometriosis

Endometriosis is when the tissue that makes up the uterine lining (the lining of the womb) is present on other organs inside your body. Endometriosis is usually found in the lower abdomen, or pelvis, but can appear anywhere in the body. Women with endometriosis often have lower abdominal pain, pain with periods, or pain with sexual intercourse, and may report having a hard time getting pregnant. On the other hand, some women with endometriosis may not have any symptoms at all.

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Endometriosis is estimated to affect between 3% and 10% of reproductive-aged women. Endometriosis is rarely found in girls before they start their period, but it is found in up to half of young girls and teens with pelvic pain and painful periods. When endometriosis flares up, muscles in the lower back can result in a painful protective spasm. Spasms can cause muscular tension in the abdomen and pelvic region. Thus, the right therapeutic massage helps to alleviate pelvic congestion.

The techniques used in therapeutic massage manipulate the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the body to relieve and prevent discomfort, pain, stress, and muscle spasms. The benefits of therapeutic massage in regards to endometriosis go beyond the simple relaxation of an affected person's physical and mental state. Massages have been known to actually improve lymph and blood circulation, decrease irritation within the nerves, and transport nutrients and fresh oxygen to affected tissue.

In essence, therapeutic massage is a safe way to treat endometriosis, and just every sufferer can try it.

Power of Positive Thinking

Life happens fast sometimes. It can sometimes seems like one bad event occurs after another and you just can’t catch a break. “Always remember the glass is half full.” A quote your friend or therapist may remind you when you vent to them. That can be easier said than actually put into action.

It’s actually a proven fact though. To think of the positive outlook is better for your health. Statistics show that optimists are generally healthier than pessimists. They have a lower risk of disease and less hospital visits. Positive thinking can also regulate our emotions, which can help us deal with both daily struggles and bigger crises. Research has proved that thinking positive thoughts can actually impact our brains and help us feel better.

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Positive thinking will help us have more control over our lives. The little things won’t get under our skin as easily and we’re able to approach the day with much more gratitude. Here are a few tips to find that gold at the end of your rainbow:

Treat yourself daily.

Find a slice of time for yourself. Whether you want to go try that new restaurant with your friends or find solitude in a great massage session. Do something for you.

Practice gratitude.

Show the universe you’re grateful for the present moments in your life. Be thankful when the door is held open for you or someone compliments your outfit. It doesn’t mean you have to return the compliment. Accept it. You will begin to notice the shift in your positive outlook.

Remember there’s no such thing as a bad day. It’s just a bad moment. Choose happy! Choose the glass that is half full.

-

A Kneaded Touch
January

Massage Therapy for Insomnia

Insomnia. An eight letter word that sometimes keeps us up throughout the night. No matter how tired we may be insomnia is a battle in itself. Insomnia and other circadian disruptions  can be caused because of schedule changes, stress, hormonal imbalances and pain. Battling insomnia is frustrating especially the next day when you’re more likely to be cranky and irritable because you haven’t slept well. This can compromise your cognitive functions and add on to the stress, and anxiety that’s keeping you awake.

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Massage therapy is a great way to offer many reliefs to insomnia. Of course, you can take a few melatonin pills or another over the counter medication but that risks side effects. Massage therapists are trained to help clients heal their insomnia. Regular massage therapy effectively releases endorphins and serotonin to create a whole body relaxation to help you fall asleep and get back to your sleep pattern. Positive chemical changes occurs with any kind of massage, whether it’s for insomnia, rehabilitation or stress reduction.

With regular high quality sleep, the body and mind receive the restorative time and bio chemicals needed. The benefits of massage don’t stop at improving sleep however, massage offers a host of other important benefits. Schedule your appointment today with A Kneaded Touch and let your massage therapist know you’re having difficulty sleeping. They will be able to customize the massage to leave you relaxed and kicking insomnia’s a*s.



Popular Fall Essential Oils

Fall Essential Oils

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It’s Fall! Which means the arrival of fall-themed everything…pumpkin spice lattes, cinnamon-scented candles, and the best one: autumn essential oils. Not only do they smell amazing, but they also add a great ambiance to your living space. Take a look below to check out my top 4 favorite fall-scented essential oils to try this autumn:

Pumpkin Pie

Found on NaturalLivingIdeas.com, this is a blend of:

2 drops Ginger, 2 drops Cassia, 1 drop Clove, 1 drop Vanilla, 2 drops Cardamom


Cinnamon Spice

HelloGlow.com describes this scent combination as:

2 drops Orange, 1 drop Cinnamon Bark, 1 drop Clove, 1 drop Vanilla


Fall Wreath

Another festive scent combo from this website, this mixture is:

3 drops Peppermint, 3 drops Fir, 1 Eucalyptus, 1 drop Tea Tree, 2 drops Rosemary


Warm Chai

Provided by this website, Warm Chai consists of:

3 drops Cardamom, 2 drops Cinnamon, 1 drop Clove, 1 drop Nutmeg, 2 drops Ginger


Try these yummy blends this October to add the perfect finishing touch to this season. Recipe for the perfect autumn day: curl up with tea and a good book, or a comfy blanket and your favorite movie with these scents wafting in the background. Sit back, relax, and enjoy pure bliss.  

Thanks for reading. Stay cozy!

Top 5 Yoga Stretches for Runners

The Top 5 Best Yoga Stretches for Runners

After running, you may find that your muscles feel tired and fatigued. Some stretching may help a little initially, but there are certain stretches (especially yoga poses) that will make you feel divine - if you do them correctly. Take a look below for the top 5 yoga poses for all runners and athletes alike.

1. Downward Dog

Benefits: arms and legs. YogaJournal.comsays downward dog, “stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands, [and] strengthens the arms and legs.” This pose can also “calm the brain, energize the body, and relieve stress.”

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2. Pyramid

Benefits: spine, shoulders, and wrists. This pose stretches the legs, especially the hamstrings. Active.comsays Pyramid pose “calms the brain, stretches the spine, strengthens the legs, and improves posture and digestion.”

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3. Pigeon

Benefits: hips. According to Harmony Yoga, Standing Pigeon “opens the hip joint, lengthens the hip flexor, stretches the thighs, gluteals, and piriformis muscles, and extends the groin and psoas.”

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4. Forward Fold

Benefits: hips, hamstrings, and calves. This pose can calm the mind, reduce stress, stretch the back and legs, and strengthen the hamstrings.

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5. Hand to Toe Hold

Benefits: feet, ankles, legs, hips, and core. YogaJournal.comsays Hand to Toe Hold “strengthens the legs and ankles, stretches the backs of the legs, and improves your sense of balance.”

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These poses are fantastic to assist with general body tightness and ease any restriction or rigidity that running (or vigorous exercise) may cause. Practice them pre-run, post-run, or even before bed, and you’ll feel amazing!

Are you in need of a professional massage? Check out A Kneaded Touch, a massage therapy center based in Houston, Texas, here to view our services and schedule an oh-so-needed appointment.