In my 10+ years as a massage therapist, many wellness fads that have come and gone. Every season brings a new "life-changing" secret to health, beauty, weight loss, or youth. Each promises a simple fix. Eat this super fruit, try this fitness class, eliminate this one substance- and all your problems are solved!
Out of the hundreds of life hacks that have come along, there is only one "secret" I can confidently say is true.
The secret the wellness is.... that there isn't one!
Don't be disappointed- this is a good thing! Once we can accept that health requires work, discipline, and some tough self-love, we can begin to move forward in our wellness journeys. We can stop wasting time (and money!) on things that don't work for us.
Many of these "hacks" do work to a certain extent. For example; CBD oil has shown itself to have anti-inflammatory effects. But when a product is advertised as curing everything from headaches to cancer, such as how CBD has been marketed to us, it may be too good to be true. Every fad diet, every new fitness craze, they all promise simple solutions to complex problems. And even if work for some people, they may not be right for your body's unique needs.
Health and wellness require that we take a hard look at ourselves, our lifestyles, and take care of our bodies physically, emotionally, and mentally. That means eating well, getting the proper exercise, engaging in activities that stimulate our brains, seeking out mental health counseling when needed, establishing a healthcare routine that puts the focus on you, finding healthy ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression.
This can seem daunting because it requires effort on our part. Think of your body as a investment, and the effort you put into keeping it healthy will pay off in the end.
Evolve has Reopened!
It has been a long 3 months and I am so happy to be back in my treatment room seeing all my beloved clients. I have missed you all!
Remaining open is dependent upon keeping local COVID numbers low. The State has outlined several guidelines for businesses to help slow the spread of the virus and keep us all safe. Let's work together to ensure a healthy Mohawk Valley!
Before your next appointment you should know a few things:
1) Masks and/or face coverings must be worn at all times.
Because we will all be in such close quarters there can be no exceptions to this rule. If you have medical condition that causes wearing a mask to be difficult, you will likely need to reschedule your appointment to a later date when the mask requirement is lifted. If you struggle with a respiratory ailment or any serious medical condition, it is most likely safer for you to wait to receive a massage anyway considering those with preexisting conditions are the most at risk!
While lying face down during your session, a covering will have been placed over the headrest, allowing you to move down your mask and breathe easier without risking exposure. While face up, everyone will need to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth.
2) Travel Advisories
Though New York State COVID numbers are down, many other states are seeing a rise in cases. Recently, the Governor has mandated that those who have traveled to or from several states must quarantine themselves for 14 days after returning to New York.
Evolve is taking a firm stance on following these mandates. If you have traveled to any of the cited states within 14 days of your appointment, you must reschedule. Failure to do or failure to inform us of travel history may result in future scheduling consequences and well as State fines. (Please help keep us all healthy!)
The travel advisory includes the following states (list is updated as needed):
3) If Experiencing Symptoms of Illness:
If anytime in the week prior to your session you experience any of the following symptoms, you must reschedule your appointment:
-Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
-Muscle or body aches
-New loss of taste or smell
-Congestion or runny nose
-Nausea or vomiting
4) Failure to Disclose
As a massage therapist I work in close contact with several people every day. These people then go home to their families, friends, and coworkers. One person knowingly exposing another to illness can cause a deadly ripple effect. Failure to disclose symptoms of COVID, possible known exposure of COVID, a history of a positive COVID test, or a history of recent travel to at-risk states, may not only result in scheduling consequences but could also result in hefty state fine.
COVID-19 is a deadly, contagious virus that we still know little about. As a community, we must do our part in flattening the curve and stopping the spread.
Thank you for helping to keep everyone safe and healthy!
For Years, Massage Therapy was seen as just a pampering treatment for women.
Finally, that stigma is fading away!
Because massage used to be reserved for spas or beauty salons, most men believed it was a luxury that was only meant for women. With massage therapy finally being recognized as an effective healthcare treatment, men are discovering the numerous benefits to receiving regular sessions. In fact, massage therapy is ideal for improving men's overall health.
1. Decrease Pain
Men are often engaged in strenuous physical activity, whether it's playing sports, going to the gym, or doing yard work. All of these activities are rough on the body, especially muscle tissue. Massaging the muscle can reduce cramping, relieve stubborn "knots", and relax tight areas of muscle and connective tissue. Manipulating these areas not only feels good while getting the massage, it can relieve pain for weeks, sometimes even for months!
2. Reduce Injuries and Increase Strength
These two go hand in hand. Massage reduces injuries by increasing the "pliability" of muscle tissue, which is different from "flexibility". Flexibility is how far your muscle can stretch, pliability indicates how quickly you can reach your full stretch. Do you find that you need to warm up for a long time before you get to your full range of motion? You may have poor muscle pliability, which increases your risk of severe injuries such as tears, sprains, and strains.
Massage will manipulate, relax, and stretch the muscle tissue as well as increase blood flow and reduce cramping. Together, these techniques reduce the chance of injury, increase strength, and improve endurance and athletic performance.
3. Relieve Stress
Unfortunately, we still live in a world where men are encouraged to hide their true feelings. Yet men have just as many emotional burdens as women, and research shows that bottling them up or ignoring them is unhealthy.
How does massage help? Relaxing the body and muscle tissue slows the heart rate and activates your body's parasympathetic nervous system (think "rest and digest"). This helps reduce the stress responses that can have damaging effects on the body.
4. Lower Blood Pressure
Heart disease is the number one killer of men, and many don't even realize there is a problem until it's too late! Anything that can have a positive effect on heart health is essential. Massage therapy not only reduces stress and improves circulation, but helps decrease pain and muscle cramping so you can lead a more active lifestyle.
5. Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
One good habit usually leads to another. One of my favorite aspects of massage therapy is the incredible wellness journey it helps start. It is not uncommon for a client to begin coming in while suffering from chronic pain, and after a few weeks of regular treatment have them say, "I feel so good, I think I can start exercising again!"
And the effects usually don't stop there. Once someone is able to take control of their wellness for themselves, the healthier choices begin coming more naturally. Some quit smoking, or consult a nutritionist. Others realize they need psychotherapy or other health therapies. Sometimes, just feeling better physically or emotionally can change a person's entire outlook on themselves and their lives. It's a journey Licensed Massage Therapists are always humbled and honored to be a part of.
Time to ourselves doesn’t just feel good and lift our spirits, it is also necessary. In today’s world, we are always on the go, constantly bombarded with information and opinions, texts, messages, news articles, and massive amounts of stress-causing issues. We must have time to relax and decompress.
When we conjure up an image of relaxation, it’s usually along the line of a warm bubble bath complete with wine and candles. But any parent will tell you, an uninterrupted bath is almost unheard of. How can a busy parent or hard-working professional find more time for themselves?
We should re-define the term “self-care”. It doesn’t need to mean time completely alone, it's about taking time to do something you want to do for your own emotional, mental and physical health. Basically, it means being selfish for a change. (And that is okay!)
Here are some simple suggestions for making self-care a part of your daily life:
1) Make simple pleasures more indulgent: Doing this helps you to be more present and live in the moment. Select a new wine that will perfectly compliment your dinner. Spruce up your favorite room with a bouquet of flowers. Allow yourself a few extra minutes to coordinate your outfit and accessories. It doesn’t have to take much thought, but learning to enjoy life’s simple pleasures can enrich every day.
2) Create therapeutic space: Maybe it’s your bedroom, or office. (Believe it or not, you can make places in your home off-limits to your kids) Change it and decorate it to your liking! Hang fresh curtains, buy a new piece of artwork, limit electronics or distractions. Develop a space that caters to your needs, and retreat to it when you need to, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
3) Plan fun activities that are for the whole family, not JUST the kids: Movie nights, Game nights, Outings and Dinners- the whole family can enjoy these. But it’s okay to pick something mom and dad are also sure to enjoy. And if the kids misbehave when things don’t always go their way, it’s time to call the babysitter and have a date night!
4) Say "no": We all have a lot of responsibility to others. Our families, friends, employers, coworkers. Learn to set boundaries. Work energy should be confined to work hours. If a friend asks you to do something you just don’t have the time, energy or desire to do…. It is okay (and healthy) to say “no!”
5) Do more "walking" than "talking": The growing to-do lists, the ‘I should” or “I want to”s that never get accomplished. Not only do they bring us down but they also weight on us and rob us of peaceful moments. How are you supposed to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon if you’re stressing about the workplace task you’ve put off? Make a to-do list and then check it off! Is there a project you want to start or finish up? Tell yourself that you must do it, start it, complete it. Get those tasks out of the way and the moments you have to yourself will be so much more relaxing and enjoyable.
Imagine this scenario:
You are a healthy adult. You take care of yourself, and though you have occasional aches and pains, nothing that stops you from leading a happy, productive life.
One day, you get into a car accident and end up with a whiplash injury. Now you are suffering from excruciating pain!
You are prescribed a pain killer which provides fast, effective pain relief, but when you reach the end of your prescription the pain comes back. You’re prescribed more. Again, such relief!
But there is a dark side to this relief. Addiction. Soon, you need the pain killers to even function at all! Obtaining more pills starts to become an obsession. You build up a tolerance and need more than the prescribed dosage to feel the relief. But you’ve reached your limit on how much the doctors can legally prescribe.
Now you need a new way to get relief. You turn to dealers, who operate in shady areas. You’re taking pills that are not prescribed to you that come from questionable sources. In this world you discover more options to ease your pain and addiction. Illicit and dangerous drugs like heroin become more appealing as time goes on. One time you finally give in and try it. And now you’re a full-blown addict.
This is the reality of opioid addiction. This is why normal, healthy, average people are becoming addicts. It begins innocently and descends to a dangerous place. The medical community is slowly beginning to realize the error of their ways, and is starting to limit opioid prescriptions, but not fast enough. And those who are suffering from real pain still need an effective path to relief.
That’s where massage therapy comes in.
Let me propose this suggestion as an alternative:
You, a healthy adult, get into a car accident and suffer a whiplash injury and are now in severe pain. To help ease your immediate pain, you are prescribed something- a muscle relaxer, or an anti-inflammatory (steroid), with the very last and most extreme option being an opioid or narcotic.
While on the medication for that acute pain relief, you are encouraged to seek some type of physical treatment before the initial prescription is finished. Considering the type of injury whiplash is, and how it affects muscle tissue, massage therapy is an excellent option.
You come in to see a Licensed Massage Therapist, we treat the pain at it’s source- the muscular spasms in the neck, shoulders, upper back, etc. Now when that initial prescription is finished, you are no longer in pain. And if there is still some lingering, it is more easily managed. You now have the tools, the knowledge, and the health care routine established to minimize pain and ensure it does not come back. No need for more pain killers because you have been properly treated.
No addiction, no obsession, no life-altering consequences.
Which one would you rather have?
Are you suffering from chronic pain? Call now to see if massage therapy is the right treatment for you
Nothing says "I Love You" like a gift the nurtures the body, mind, and soul!
Let your sweetheart know that you'd love something *sweet* for Valentine's Day- a Gift Card from Evolve Massage & Wellness!
It's the most wonderful time of the year!...but with the festivities comes stress and sore muscles which can turn even the happiest elf into a grumpy Grinch! That's why a massage is a perfect holiday gift!
This season, make your loved-one happier AND healthier with a gift certificate from Evolve Massage & Wellness!
It’s the holiday season, and we all know what that means- it’s also cold/flu season. To a certain extent we all know the basics of illness prevention. Wash your hands, disinfect everything, stay home when you’re sick. But sometimes it seems that is not enough.
What else can we do to prevent illness? Keeping our immune system in top shape is the key.
A strong, healthy immune system puts us on the offensive against bacteria and disease, giving us a better chance of not getting sick in the first place. Prevention is better than cure! Eating well and exercising regularly are known to improve overall health. What else improves overall health? Massage! (You knew I was getting there eventually)
This article by LiveScience cites many reasons why massage can have a positive impact on your immune system. In the study mentioned, 29 participants received a 45 minute identical massage sessions - meaning the therapists used the exact same pressure, techniques and routine on each person. Blood samples taken before and after treatment showed an increase in white blood cells, which are the main line of defense against disease. This result is seen after just ONE massage!
Massage is also known to decrease inflammation. Why is this important? If a part of your body is experiencing inflammation, your body naturally responds by sending cells to the area to protect and heal. Now what happens if you’re exposed to a virus or bacteria? Your body needs to fight that, too. The result is an overworked immune system that cannot efficiently do its job. Eliminating or, at the very least, decreasing inflammation with massage will help your body be more prepared to fight during those vulnerable winter months.
As one last example of the incredible effect massage can have on the immune system; This article not only explores several benefits of massage, but the one mentioned of particular relevance to our subject shows that HIV-positive adolescents had a significant increase in immune system health and cellular production after receiving one month of regular weekly massage! It also increased natural killer cells in women with breast cancer.
If massage can have such a positive effect on complicated diseases like HIV and cancer, imagine what it can do if we are simply trying to prevent a cold?
Regular massage with moderate pressure is the key. You don’t have to get one every week, like in the studies. Unless you already have a compromised immune system, a massage once every 3-4 weeks should be sufficient. Keep in mind that you should never receive a massage if you are already sick. Not only could you pass it to your therapist and their other clients, but a fever is actually a contraindication for massage and your therapist will most likely turn you away if you have one. I’ll return to what I said above- prevention is better than cure! Begin your regular sessions BEFORE getting sick to prevent it in the first place.
Boost your immune system, take the necessary precautions- and make sure this season the only thing you’re receiving from your family is a sentimental gift- NOT the flu!