Massage for PMS

Let’s face it, some of the most dreaded letters for women might just be PMS. It’s uncomfortable, painful, and brings on a rollercoaster of emotions. For some women, PMS symptoms are far worse than for others. One thing I think we can all agree on is if we could take a magic pill to make it all go away, we would in a heartbeat. While there may not be a magical pill that can get rid of all the symptoms of PMS, there may be another solution you may not have considered. Massage therapy has been proven to relieve the symptoms of PMS. Here’s how…

While the number one correlation you may see to massage therapy and PMS relief would be the relaxation and mood boost you would normally get from a professional massage, there are many more benefits. Massage can help to ease cramps and headaches as well as that painful lower back and overall achiness that many women experience. Personally, I get a terrible headache the day before I start and all I want is a head massage! Massage also helps improve lymph flow, effectively decreasing bloating and water retention, and adding in aromatherapy may increase the mood stabilizing benefits of your massage even more. Why not try something new, like cupping? If you’re anything like me you’ll try anything to find relief! what have you got to loose?

During your period, the last thing you may want is to be touched. Just know it’s perfectly normal to get a massage on your period. The only extra thing to consider is, due to the increase in lymph flow as well as simply laying down for a long period of time, the flow of your cycle may increase during your massage. It’s no biggie! Just plan on wearing something more absorbent than you normally would.

If you have a difficult time with low back pain as well as all over achiness, you may want to seek the use of heated tools like hot towels and warm bamboo during your massage. While these are always a part of the massage I give you, feel free to ask for extra (just let me know a bit before your appointment so I can be prepared!). The heat loosens up your muscles, relaxing your body and releasing the tension, opening your body up for the best massage. It also just adds even more of a comforting, relaxing experience to your massage; something you can definitely use a bit more of.

If you track your cycle, you may want to plan on having your massage at a certain time each month. As I mentioned, my main issue is headache and I like to try and plan for a massage the day before I start to get that extra relief from the brain fog and pain that I know will be happening on that day! Whether you have periods that cause you to stay in bed, or periods that are more easily manageable, getting a massage to help ease those pesky PMS symptoms may be a great solution. Besides, who wouldn’t want to feel better emotionally and physically while being pampered for an hour, especially during that not-so-fun time of the month?


Rocking, Tapping, Nerve Strokes and Vibration

There are numerous techniques you may experience during a massage session. Rocking, tapping, nerve strokes and vibration are terms you may have already heard, or may hear. While you may think of a massage as only a series of long strokes or kneading motions, there’s a few techniques you may experience and wonder why on earth I am doing them them. So, here’s a few common techniques and why they’re done.

Rocking is a wonderfully simple technique that is just what it sounds like; rocking the body back and forth. Don’t worry, it’s not like you’ll be held like a baby and rocked in a chair. I will gently rock the body side to side ever so slightly, often on the hips, legs, and back. This gives me a sense of how tense you are and signal your body to let go of tension you may not even realize you’re holding.

Tapping, also referred to as percussion or tapotement, is when I repeatedly tap an area of the body, most often with the edges of the hands, a cupped hand,  or fingertips. It’s most often used to signal the nervous system to let go of tension, and ease sore and tired muscles. While typically performed very gently, so as to not be jarring to you as a client, some faster and more heavy tapping techniques may be performed to stimulate the muscles of an area that need to ‘wake up’, so to speak, to create some balance. Think, the karate chop movement. Regardless of the purpose, this technique, like any other massage technique, shouldn’t be painful.

Nerve strokes are extremely light, quick strokes, often performed with just the fingertips, either directly on the skin or over the linens. This technique is used to stimulate the nerves of an area, while maintaining the relaxed results already achieved. There is generally no specific pattern and the strokes are switched up frequently due to the benefits of connecting the mind with the nerves that are being stimulated. While it’s beneficial to most any client, this particular technique is especially beneficial to those who’ve experienced nerve damage or a stroke. You may recall from your last session this being done at the very end as a sort of relaxation ending.

Vibration massage has very similar benefits to nerve strokes in that it stimulates the nerves and is greatly beneficial to those who’ve suffered nerve damage or a stroke but is great for every body. I will use my whole hand or part of my hand, like fingertips down the spine, and keep continuous contact with your skin moving so quickly back and forth that it creates a vibrating sensation through the skin and into the underlying tissues.

Each of these techniques differ in the neurological effect they have on the body. Rocking and tapping both are used to relax the muscles and signal the body to let go of tension, while nerve strokes and vibration are both used to stimulate the nerves and heighten the awareness of the muscles and movements.

Whether you just want to relax, are looking for recovery from an injury, you need to prepare for something physically demanding, or relieve soreness these techniques will be worked into in your massage session.


The Mysterious World of Fascia

You may have heard the term fascia thrown around, especially if you’re familiar with bodywork or fitness jargon. But what exactly is fascia? Fascia is simply a type of connective tissue, and it’s actually quite complex; not so much because of what it is, but rather the enormous job that it has within the body. Fascia weaves in and out of every single part of your body, binding muscle fibers and muscle groups (called myofascia), wrapping around bones, nerves, and blood vessels, essentially holding everything in place as it should be. The amazing thing about it, is that fascia is strong yet flexible, in the sense that it acts as a mild shock absorber for the structures it encompasses, and is constantly changing length and shape to accommodate the necessary movements of all these structures. So, with this intricate work, what happens if something goes wrong?

Well, fascia is just like any other tissue in that once it’s damaged it can heal, but that often leaves a scar of sorts. Essentially, the new tissue that is laid down in the healing process is not quite as elastic as the original version. That’s not such a big deal usually, but with repeated damage to particular areas over time, that loss of elasticity can lead to pain and restrictions in movement. No need to worry though, this can be corrected. Just like other forms of scar tissue can be softened, allowing range of motion to be restored and pain to improve, the same can be done for fascial restrictions.

Massage therapy, particularly paired with cupping, is a great way to start relieving your symptoms. Cupping performs the opposite action that massage does in that it uses suction, or negative pressure instead of pressure to loosen up fascia that has become stiffened and create space for circulation around the tissue which helps promote that loosened state. Some people are hesitant to try cupping. I find however that almost everyone who tries it, requests it at each session thereafter. The client does not miss out on massage when getting cupping at my studio because I always pair it with massage! I urge you to try cupping if you have not, and if you don’t care for it we will simply stop and continue your session as normal.

Cupping can help soreness and pain immensely and be done almost anywhere on the body from face to feet (seriously!). During your session, you may find that I work areas of the body not directly over the particular areas you complain of. Because of the interwoven connectedness of fascia, oftentimes the source of a restriction is not where the symptoms present. Together, you and I can work to discover the potential outer lying issues, as well as any holding and compensation patterns. We may also discuss exercises, stretches, and other forms of bodywork that can help, depending on your specific needs.

The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body. If a movement or exercise doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. When your muscles are telling you they need a rest give it to them. Introducing massage and cupping as a part of your regular health care can help prevent the problem from getting too overwhelming.


Chronic Sleep Deprivation: How it Affects Your Health

Chronic sleep deprivation is defined as getting less than the recommended seven or eight hours of sleep each night for an extended period of time. It isn’t just associated with new parents trying to survive that first year with a baby; anyone getting less than the necessary sleep on a regular basis is suffering from chronic sleep deprivation. Between all of our to-do’s, stress, lifestyle choices, and sleep disorders, this is a common problem to fall into. For some it just seems like a way of life and you may even feel like it’s not a big deal. You’re coping and still working your way through each day. But did you know that chronic sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your body, often in ways you may not even realize are connected. 

When you sleep, pathways form between nerve cells in your brain that help you remember new information you’ve learned. When you’re dealing with chronic sleep deprivation, your brain is exhausted and can’t perform its normal duties as well. This means that not only is your concentration and cognitive function affected while you’re awake, but your ability to learn new things by forming those new neural connections and creating new memories while you sleep, is also undermined. 

When you’re sleep deprived, it can also affect your mood, decision-making ability, and overall mental health. If chronic sleep deprivation persists long enough, you can begin experiencing a short temper, extreme irritability, impulsive behavior, anxiety, depression, paranoia, and even hallucinations and suicidal thoughts.  

When you sleep, your body produces cytokines, protective and infection fighting proteins. These proteins give your immune system a boost, providing reinforcements to defend the body from all kinds of viruses and bacteria. If you’re experiencing chronic sleep deprivation, your body isn’t able to build up its protection and fend off potential invaders.  Long-term sleep deprivation can cause a lowered immune system, or an overactive one, leading to symptoms associated with some autoimmune conditions. 

Finally, chronic sleep deprivation also seems to affect your waistline as well. What does sleep and weight have to do with another you ask? Well, sleep affects leptin and ghrelin which control feelings of hunger and being full. Leptin is in charge of telling your brain you’ve had enough to eat and ghrelin is an appetite stimulant. When you’re not getting enough sleep, leptin is reduced and ghrelin is raised. So, you’ll eat more whether you need to or not. And simply put, when you’re tired, you’re less likely to exercise. So, if you don’t get enough sleep for a long period of time, the increased calories along with the decrease in activity are sure to pack on the pounds. It’s not just about weight though. Sleep deprivation causes your body to release more insulin after you eat, promoting fat storage and increasing your risk for type 2 diabetes.  

Getting sleep may be difficult, or you may simply have a lot on your plate, but the physical effects that sleep deprivation aren’t something to take lightly. Whether you perform a brain dump, meditate, take a hot shower, or turn off that show you’ve been binge watching, set a bedtime and do your best to get a good night’s sleep every single day. If you don’t make sleep a priority now you’ll regret it later.  


Massage and Anxiety


Let’s face it, life can be stressful especially with all of the craziness that 2020 has thrown at us! There are to-do lists, deadlines to meet, people to take care of, plus COVID-19 and political unrest, the list goes on and on. While some may handle the pressure just fine, many people struggle with overwhelming day to day challenges, leading to sometimes crippling anxiety. It’s a serious issue and it’s important to know what you’re dealing with, possible solutions, and preventative actions you can take. Here’s some information to help you navigate the muddy waters of anxiety.

Anxiety is felt as an overwhelming sense of apprehension, fear, and dread, often marked by physical signs, like tension, sweating, increased pulse rate, and difficulty breathing calmly. It will often build up and intensify over time, and can result in irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping and relating to other people. For some, it’s a consistent feeling that can escalate into panic attacks; episodes of intense anxiety and panic that can cause heart palpitations and hyperventilation.

While there’s numerous treatment and methods for managing daily anxiety as well as anxiety attacks, one you may not have considered is massage. It’s not going to eradicate all forms of anxiety, so you never feel anxious again, but it has been shown time and again in studies to have a major impact and greatly improve the symptoms of those who regularly experience anxiety. Getting regular massages can help to lower your heart rate, decrease blood pressure, improve concentration, release muscle tension, improve your quality of sleep, and regulate the release of certain ‘feel-good’ hormones to calm the body and mind.

There are also several ways you can manage your anxiety on a daily basis. I want to make clear that I understand, most people living with anxiety know these things and are either working towards them (because they are all more easily said than done!) or have decided that certain tactics are not for them. This is simply a list of ideas that may help those who are actively looking for ideas to deal with anxiety. Anxiety is different for each individual and what helps one person may not help another.

 Be more active

When you increase your heart rate and work your muscles, your body releases the same feel good hormone you receive when getting a massage, helping you to feel better emotionally and physically.

 Cut back on your caffeine intake

Did you know that caffeine can increase anxiousness in those who struggle with anxiety and sometimes even cause anxiety in those who don’t? High levels of caffeine can even increase your chances of having a panic attack.

 Find your trigger

Try keeping a journal. When dealing with anxiety, you’ll see that some days you struggle more than others. Not only is journaling therapeutic in itself, but you may be able to look at what could have caused your anxiety to increase from day to day. Maybe foods, people, situations; find patterns and adjust to see if you can avoid those triggers.


While you may not have a lot of time in your day to meditate, even taking 5 minutes will help. The deep breaths will help lower your heart rate and having as few moments to get a handle on the day is always helpful.

 Get more sleep

When you haven’t gotten enough sleep, your brain sends signals to your body that something is wrong, resulting in higher levels of anxiety and feelings of stress. Prioritizing your sleep will help make sure your body doesn’t feel like it’s under attack.

 Seek professional help

Having someone to talk to about what you’re going through and being able to unrestrictedly express your thoughts, can make a world of difference.


Anxiety can interrupt so many parts of your life. I would LoVe to help you control it as much as possible. Pair massage with these tips and let’s work together to lessen your anxiety!


Is Text Neck Really a Big Deal?

Let’s face it, when was the last time you were in a restaurant and everyone around was paying attention to those at the table as opposed to looking down at their phones? I’m sure you can’t quite recall. We often stay on our phones now more that we have real, direct interaction with others, whether it’s for work or entertainment. With this, you may have heard the term ‘text neck’ which is often used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long.

There are some scary articles and photos about this issue. Some people state that this regular posture of looking down can increase the weight your neck is supporting anywhere from 27 to 60 pounds, putting some serious stress on all the structures of the neck and shoulders. Some articles state that you can change the actual state of your spine from text neck, losing the natural curvature of the neck and potentially causing disc, vertebral, and nerve issues. The truth is, our bodies are made to adapt to postural changes and are far more resilient than we often give them credit for.

Now, just because our bodies are made to adapt doesn’t mean we should force them to, and it doesn’t mean that text neck isn’t still a potential problem to worry about. Any kind of prolonged abnormal posture or repetitive motion can eventually take its toll on the body, but there’s been a lot of fear mongering on this topic that isn’t necessary. Instead of making you paranoid about the physical effects of your device usage, like people weren’t staring down at books and newspapers for hours on end before we had them, take stock of how you’re feeling. If you notice tension or pain in your neck, shoulders, jaws, or even symptoms of nerve issues, like numbness or a pins and needles feeling down your arm, then this is definitely something to pay attention to and make some serious adjustments. If you’re not having any symptoms of a problem – no pain or other negative feelings around the upper body and head – then be mindful of your usage, but don’t think you need to completely change your habits.

While less screen time would probably do you some good, you can’t expect to go cold turkey, especially if a big chunk of that usage is work related. Instead, try to make small adjustments and increase as you can and need to, to help your neck stay healthy. Take a break every 30 minutes to move and stretch your neck, head, and arms. Raise your phone, computer, or tablet to eye level instead of looking down at them. Keep your posture in check throughout, ensuring your spine is comfortable and in a neutral position.

You shouldn’t live in fear of text neck, just be mindful of how your body feels throughout, just like you should with any daily activity. Being aware of your body and posture while using any device can help reduce the risk of injury and pain.


Geriatric Massage

There’s no doubt that as we age our bodies change. We become more susceptible to illnesses, lose bone and muscle mass, and generally become more frail. And while we can’t exactly stop the aging process, there is a way to help your body as you navigate the waters of aging; massage therapy. Geriatric massage is a type of massage therapy specifically tailored to address issues that commonly affect the elderly.

While people of all ages can enjoy a standard massage, finding someone trained in geriatric massage can ensure their ability to address some of your unique needs. Generally, geriatric massage should be light and gentle, aiming to improve movement, decrease joint pain, increase local circulation in specific areas where you may have some deficiencies, and improve mood.

Most deep pressure techniques, and those meant to penetrate down into the muscle tissue, are avoided as they can cause more harm than good. These could leave the client bruised, achy, or not feeling well after what should be a wonderful experience. There also tends to be a loss of sensation as we age, and sometimes that means the brain doesn’t interpret the pressure quite as strongly as it really is, leading the client to feel like they can handle more than is really safe for their body.

Another important aspect of geriatric massage is the simple act of touch. Beyond all the physiological benefits, gentle, compassionate massage has been shown to improve mood and boost feeling of well-being, especially in those who are experiencing a form of touch deprivation. As we age, through life changes and medical needs, we often don’t receive healthy forms of touch as often as we used to. Massage can make up for some of that by providing a safe, comforting form of touch; something every single person innately needs.

So, if you or someone you know could benefit from this specialized form of care, book an appointment or get in touch and we’ll discuss any special needs you may have.


What You Should & Shouldn’t Do After a Massage

Whether you get regular massages to help with an injury, loosen your muscles after a training session, ease the pain of an injury or medical condition you’re experiencing, or just as pure relaxation, I want you to get the most out of your massage. There are ways to maximize the benefits of your massage, and there are ways that can have the opposite effect you’re going for. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you get the most out of your massage.
* Do Drink water to re-hydrate
Because massage manually increases lymphatic flow, it can have a diuretic effect on the body, causing you to lose a little water. Drinking plenty of water before and after a massage will ensure that you stay hydrated and continue to feel great after your appointment.
* Do Take a nap
There is no doubt that after your session your muscles will be relaxed, and your mind clear due to the feel-good hormones that your body releases. Try to schedule your massage appointment at a time in your day where you can enjoy the benefits of relaxing and refueling your body through a much-needed nap. Not only will you enjoy some great sleep, but you’ll also give your body time to reset.
* Do Eat
Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, giving you that amazing feeling of relaxation, and aiding digestion at the same time. You’ll more than likely be a little hungry when you leave your appointment so refuel your body with a light snack or well-balanced meal.
* Do Use heat therapy
I do my best to relax your muscles during a massage, and the addition of before, during, and after your massage will act to increase that relaxation effect, leaving you feeling even more amazing. This can also help dissipate some of the muscle soreness that can be associated with more rigorous techniques and injury rehabilitation.
* Don’t drink alcohol
As I have mentioned before, massage has a diuretic affect. Since alcohol also has a diuretic effect, it’s important to avoid it for a bit after your massage. If you’re going to anyway, don’t overdo it, and be sure to drink some extra water to keep yourself from becoming too dehydrated.
* Don’t Exercise
While many would think this is the perfect time to go exercise because the muscles are loosened, take this time and enjoy the benefits of your massage. Let your body heal and enjoy a rest day. Yoga and light stretching are perfectly fine if you really need to move your body after a massage, just keep in mind that you don’t want to overdo it.
* Don’t Stress
Massage helps relieve stress from your day to day life. Enjoy the benefits of your massage by putting on some relaxing music, and just kick back and relax. Try to stay away from working, watching the news, or anything else that will bring your stress levels back up.
* Make today about YOU.
While it may sometimes be difficult to schedule your appointment at a time where you can have the rest of the day to yourself, it does help to increase the amazing effects of that massage. Just remember that it’s your body and it’s your massage; don’t you deserve to get the most out of it?

Tips to Get the Most from Your Massage

For many, massage therapy is considered a very important part of their health care; and as such, needs to be taken seriously. While a massage will surely feel amazing, there’s a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most benefit from those sessions.
Timing, Timing, Timing
Try to schedule your massage when you can take the time after to really soak in the benefits and enjoy that after-massage feeling. While you may think that squeezing it into a busy week will make a crazy week better, if you’re rushing back to work, or anywhere else, it can be difficult to enjoy the stress relief you’re meant to after your session. While it’s definitely beneficial to just go home and nap and relax all day after a massage, that may not always be possible. So, at the very least, schedule out some extra time after your session, even for just an additional hour or so, to do something relaxing; go for lunch, spend some time at the park, catch up with a friend, or whatever can keep you feeling great for longer.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
The last thing you want when you’re getting off of the massage table is to try to squeeze into your favorite night on the town jeans, or uncomfortable high heels. Your muscles are feeling great, your mind is clear, and your body is adjusting to this wonderful new relaxed feeling. Bring super comfy clothes so you don’t feel restricted for the rest of your day. If you’re headed straight home afterwards, bring your pajamas! There’s no judgement here.
Eat Something Light
Eating a light snack before your massage can help you feel your best after, but it’s important to not eat a large meal. Deep pressure will usually feel amazing on your back, but not so much if you have a full stomach getting that pressure too. Save the larger meal for after your massage, when you’re likely to be more hungry anyway.
To get the most from any massage, it’s important for you to communicate honestly with me. If you’re tender in an area, have pain, or if anything has changed since our last session, please let me know. My job is to help you find relief. That last thing I want is for you to be uncomfortable or just not enjoying the work.
Massage therapy is health care. So, help me help you get the most out of your session.