Gua Sha: The Ultimate Pre-Wedding Prep?

To any of you who have been there or are currently there: planning a wedding can be stressful. But it’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life! And to that, we say – go for a massage.

Of course! Massages are relaxing, soothing, and ace at relieving stress (it’s a fact!).

But for your big day not just any massage will do – but we know just the one that will.

Here at Massagetique we are certain that a Gua Sha is the ultimate pre-wedding prep activity, and we are going to prove it.

First Things First: What Is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is a traditional form of massage therapy originating in China. The practice of Gua Sha involves stroking one’s skin with a stiff instrument, typically made from stone, jade, bone, or horn. In fact, Gua Sha roughly translates into “scraping away fever”.

Traditionally, this method has been used to treat a variety of conditions.

The science behind this form of massage therapy is that it increases blood flow beneath the surface of the skin, which in itself can lead to a variety of healing affects within the body. Most noticeably, it has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting capabilities that are able to counteract a number of symptoms of illnesses.

How Will Gua Sha Benefit My Pre-Wedding Routine?

The Purpose of A Pre-Wedding Routine

You want to look your best and feel your best on your wedding day – that is why many brides develop a “pre-wedding routine”.

Of course, many brides include activities that will help them be as radiant as can be on their big day, such as spa time, manicure sessions, hair touch-ups, and special skin care routines – hey, a girl has to treat herself once in awhile, right?

But you shouldn’t forget to give a little TLC to both your physical and mental health before the big day as well. It’s not all about looks, is it?

Ensuring you get enough rest, take some time to de-stress, clear your mind, and fight off any sniffles, aches, or pains that may be coming your way is also important if you want to be able to enjoy your wedding day to the fullest – and a massage is a great way to do all of that at once.

Known Benefits of Gua Sha

Gua Sha therapy is amazing at combating a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Stiffness
  • Fever and chills
  • Neck and back pain
  • Flu symptoms
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Nausea, and
  • Asthma

And these are only some examples!

Planning a wedding is stressful, and stress can take a hard toll on your body, even physically – causing tenseness, headaches, indigestion, and more.

Luckily for you, massages, while being great for targeting these physical symptoms, are also known to be good for relieving stress.

If you can simultaneously rid yourself of stress and combat your aches and pains at the same time, why wouldn’t you?

You Have Options

Everyone has a different budget, different schedule, and different preferences in general – luckily for you this amazing type of massage is something you can get done professionally or perform yourself at home. The perfect pre-wedding massage for anyone and everyone!

Seeing A Professional

If you want the full treatment, you should easily be able to find a local certified practitioner.

A typical Gua Sha session will only last 10 or so minutes – great for your busy pre-wedding schedule!

Going DIY

If you are on a tighter budget or just love DIY, you can also perform a Gua Sha massage for yourself from the comfort of your home.

You simply need the required “tool” – you can purchase an actual Gua Sha tool online or from specialty stores or you can use something from home, such as a spoon or the lid of a jar (just remember to disinfect them!).

Get Your Gua Sha On Today

And feel brand new for your big day! Refresh yourself both mentally and physically by adding the Gua Sha massage to your pre-wedding routine – you won’t regret it!

References

  1. https://www.massagetique.com/types/gua-sha/
  2. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/pre-wedding-skin-care-prep
  3. https://elementsmassage.com/blog/massage-as-part-of-your-wedding-day-preparation
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body
  5. https://greatist.com/happiness/can-massages-actually-reduce-stress

25 Massage Therapist Blogs You Should Follow

Blogging is all the new rage – there are travel blogs, cooking blogs, weight loss blogs, mommy blogs, fashion blogs, and, yes, even massage blogs.

Whether you are a massage therapist (or one in the making), you are in need of a massage therapist, or you are simply interested in the world of massage – there are a number of blogs that you could easily get lost in.

To give you a head start, we’ve pulled together what we feel are 25 massage therapist blogs you should follow. These blogs range in what they focus on, from sports massage, medical massage, relaxation, technique, and more – you’ll be a self-proclaimed expert on massage therapy in no time!

  1. American Massage Therapy Association Blog

https://www.amtamassage.org

Following the newsfeed of the AMTA’s website is a great way for massage therapists to keep up to date with various events, publications, news stories, etc. within the world of massage therapy.

  1. Shanti Living Wellness 

https://www.shantiliving-wellness.com/blog

Shanti Living is a great blog to follow for both therapists and clients alike, providing an array of information and reviews on topics related to yoga, massage therapy, and Ayurveda wellness.

  1. Better Movement

https://www.bettermovement.org/blog/

Better Movement is a blog that focuses on the idea that the brain and nervous system have more control over pain that we think. It is a great informative resource for massage therapists, sports trainers, athletes, and those suffering chronic pain.

  1. Pro Active Muscle Therapy

http://www.pro-activemuscletherapy.com/blog

This blog is all about the pro-active style approach to massage therapy, highlighting the importance of communication between masseuse and client, maintenance massages, and personal treatment plans. 

  1. Busy Hive 

http://busyhive.co.uk

Busy Hike features a hodge-podge of entertaining, informative, and enlightening articles written by Holistic Masseuse Sinead with the aim of helping her readers understand the importance of massage therapy and how it can help them find clarity in their lives.

  1. Massage Therapist Development Centre

https://themtdc.com

The MTDC blog is a great resource for therapists but its true mission is to transform the publics’ perception of massage therapy by posting information packed articles focusing on the value and power massage therapy provides.

  1. The RMT Education Project

http://www.rmtedu.com/blog

The RMT blog is great for therapists, sports trainers, and athletes, as it looks at ideas, discoveries, and developments in the fields of sports medicine, neuroscience, pain physiology, and clinical anatomy.

  1. Pain Science

https://www.painscience.com

Pain Science is self-proclaimed as written mainly for patients, containing hundreds of articles and self-help guides related to different treatment options for common aches and pains, but is also highly referenced for professionals seeking guidance or information. 

  1. Zeel

https://www.zeel.com/blog/

Zeel is a great lifestyle and wellness blog with a focus on massage’s, their benefits, and some how-to’s for all you DIY fans.

  1. Body In Mind

https://www.bodyinmind.org

Body in Mind is an initiative focused on researching the role of the brain and mind in relation to chronic pain. Their blog features a number of informative articles based on research and observations from their field of study as well as articles intended to spark discussion around certain topics.

  1. Reddit – Massage

https://www.reddit.com/r/massage/comments/9k3tgq/deep_tissue_massage_questions/

Reddit is casual, yes, but for those of you employed in or simply interest in the field of massage therapy, their massage thread is a great way to be connected with likeminded individuals who can answer your questions, challenge your opinions, or simply engage in informative discussions with you.

  1. Story Massage 

https://www.storymassage.co.uk

Story Massage is a concept that combines the benefits of positive, respectful touch with the creativity and engagement of story telling. This blog follows the journey that Story Massage has been on since its creation in 2013.

  1. Acupuncture Massage College

https://www.amcollege.edu/blog

Not surprisingly, this blog, while providing informative articles on a variety of massage techniques and related topics, specifically highlights the powers of acupuncture. It is a great resource for professionals as well as individuals interested in receiving acupuncture.

  1. Massagetique

https://www.massagetique.com/blog/

Of course we can’t not put ourselves on this list – here at Massagetique we strive to provide our readers with helpful resources, including informative articles and useful tips spanning a variety of massage therapy and bodywork techniques.

  1. Massage Book

http://www.massagebook.com/massage-therapy/blog/

Massage Book is a great resource for clients who are interested in learning more about massage therapy as a broad subject. This blog is home to a number of articles ranging from informative posts, comparison posts, and even how-to posts.

  1. Body and Mind 

http://www.body-mindmassage.com/blog/

Body and Mind is really intended to inspire individuals to trust in the power of massage. It is a great follow option for anyone interested in massage therapy as a treatment for injury, pain, or even just for relaxation, as well as being a great resource for those employed in the industry.

  1. Elements Massage

https://elementsmassage.com/blog

Elements Massage is committed to improving your health and wellness. In person they do this through their massage sessions, but they also hold this commitment close when it comes to their online presence, providing informative, educational, and inspirational content for their readers.

  1. Practical Massage

https://www.practicalmassage.com/blog

Practical Massage is all about providing their readers with informative articles highlighting the concepts and benefits of a variety of different massage techniques.

  1. All Body Kneads

http://allbodykneads.com

All Body Kneads takes a unique approach to massage therapy blogging by focusing specifically on the types of massage therapy that are most beneficial to their readers based what type of work they do.

  1. Human Touch Body Work Blog

https://humantouchbodywork.com/spa-blog/

Written by professional massage therapists with experience both in the industry and as patients dealing with athletic related injuries, the purpose of Human Touch is to enlighten active individuals on the importance and benefits of professional massages.

  1. Engaging Muscles

https://www.engagingmuscles.com

Engaging Muscles is a blog designed to enlighten readers on the power of deep tissue massage for the elimination of pain, enhancement of performance, and prevention of injury.

  1. Medical Massage Group

http://themedicalmassagegroup.com/mmg-blog/

Medical Massage Group’s blog highlights how massage therapy can be used to treat, heal, or aid in various medical situations such as for different mental and physical ailments, during pregnancies, etc.

  1. Champaka Thai Massage Blog 

https://www.champakathaimassage.com/blog/

Champaka teaches their readers everything there is to know about Thai massages, from origins, evolution, technique, and even the different varieties of Thai massage around the world today. It is a great resource for both therapists and those seeking Thai massage treatment who would like to learn more.

  1. Make the Most of Massage

https://www.makethemostofmassage.com/activate/

Written by certified Neuromuscular Massage Therapist Mark Liskey, Make the Most is focused on helping aspiring massage therapists find their path and get started on turning their passion for massage therapy into a successful and rewarding career.

  1. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals

https://www.abmp.com/updates/blog-posts

The ABMP blog is a great combination of inspirational posts, how-to’s, informative articles, webinars, etc., aimed at helping massage therapists continue their education and broaden their horizons.

Do you already follow any of these blogs? Are there any more you swear by?

Office Massage: Your First Step to Happier Employees

The ideologies behind what a workplace is and should be have undergone massive transformations over the last decade or so – especially when it comes to offices.

As much as we all may like to imagine, not every office is like The Office.

Offices are slowly steering away from the typical 9-5, suit and tie, sit at your desk all. day. long. type of workplace. People are no longer satisfied with, or settling for, that – they are starting to put more consideration into how the workplace affects both their mental and physical wellness and are encouraging work places to do something about it.

Work-life balance and workplace wellness are concepts that have taken off over the last few years, especially in the corporate world. Companies want to ensure that their employees are healthy and happy, and programs such as these are great ways to do so.

Schedules are becoming more flexible, workspaces are becoming more ergonomic and less traditional, heck – some offices even bring in puppies to cheer up their employees after a long week.

But one new office trend is taking ground, and we think it could be one of the best yet – office massages.

Yes, you read right. Office massages are the latest trend in the corporate world. If you were looking for ideas on how to boost staff moral and make wellness a focus in your office, we suggest giving office massages a go – it just might be your first step to happier (and healthier) employees.

First Things First: What Is An Office Massage?

Before you can begin to introduce this new technique into your office, you need a better understanding of what it actually is and the different ways in which you can go about implementing it.

So, firstly: office massages refer to essentially any type of massage services that are offered to your employees at their place of work (aka in the office).

This can range between short, seated massages, or to full-blown table massages. The type, length, and especially the frequency, of the massages are up to you and vary greatly between each company that offers them.

One Time Deals

One of the ways in which corporate offices are offering massages to their employees is through a one-time event. Most commonly this is as part of a bigger event, such as a company holiday party, an employee appreciation day, or even during a health and wellness fair that the company is taking part in.

This means the event may either take place on the weekend, outside of normal work hours, or during the week, instead of a typically scheduled day at the office.

In the case of the one-time event, you will need to aptly account for the number of employees who will be present to get massages so you can book the appropriate number of massage therapists for the event. The best way to ensure this event runs smoothly is to pre-schedule each employees massage.

Programs

Some offices chose to implement massage programs, making office massages a regular (or semi-regular) occurrence around the office. If you wish to create an office massage program for your office, the frequency is totally up to you (and your budget of course).

You could have a masseuse in the office one day per month offering short 15 or 30-minute massages, or you could have a masseuse or two in once per week doing the same. If you are a large office and you have the space in your budget you could even have a full-time in-office masseuse available for your employees to utilize at their own (reasonable) discretion.

How Massages Benefit Your Office

How doesn’t a massage program benefit your office?

Physically

Sitting in a crappy office chair all day in the same position, going through the same repetitive motions over and over again is not good for our bodies (or our souls, for that matter). It creates poor posture; strains the neck, shoulders, and back; impacts the nerve impulses in our legs; and even causes our digestive enzymes to shut down.

A massage – even a short one – can help to reduce or reverse these issues by relieving tension, getting fluids moving, activating neural structures, and lengthening tissues.

Mentally

Aside from the obvious physical issues surrounding life at an office desk – there is also the mental factor associated with office work. Whether you are in the back taking care of paperwork all day or you are front and center dealing with clients, work can be stressful.

This stress can cause increases to your hormones, your heart rate, and even your blood pressure. Luckily, scalp massages are great for rebalancing these factors (as well as being extremely enjoyable and relaxing) – and they don’t require massage tables… just call the masseuse right over to my desk please!

Overall Comfort and Contentment

By providing your employees with access to a masseuse you are not only helping them feel better physically by taking away their aches and pains, you are also taking care of their mental health by helping them relax and shutdown for a little chunk of their work day.

This alone is enough to make any employee happier in their workplace – but on top of this you are also showing your employees that you care about their well being and value them as a team member.

Together, these are amazing ways to boost moral and create a better and happier atmosphere around the office, and also to increase productivity – because when people feel better they perform better.

Make Office Massages A Thing In Your Office Today

The benefits are obvious, the plan is simple – talk to the finance department and make room in your budget for an office massage program today.

Your employees will be happier and healthier; performance and quality of work are sure to increase; and you will be awarded boss of the year (okay, maybe that one isn’t true – but your employees will love you!).

References

  1. https://www.incorporatemassage.com/blog/what-is-office-massage
  2. https://www.massagetique.com/blog/health-wellness/the-benefits-of-massage-therapy-for-high-stress-professions/
  3. https://www.dol.gov/wb/WorkplaceFlexibility_508_FINAL.pdf

 

 

Massage and the Mental Health Connection

Massage therapy has been used as a healing method for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations all over the world utilized their own unique massage techniques to heal injuries, relieve pain, and even cure or prevent illnesses. Even today, we are well aware of the many benefits massage therapy offers – aside from an hour of peace and quiet at the end of a long week.

It is surprising, then, that we are only now beginning to really utilize massage therapy as a method of healing not only physical ailments but mental illnesses as well.

With dialogue surrounding mental illness becoming more open and supported, we are recognizing that mental illness is, unfortunately, far more prevalent within society than we knew. We need all the help we can get to fight mental illness, which is why understanding the massage and mental health connection is a big step in a positive direction.

The Growing Issue of Mental Health

Awareness surrounding mental health is growing – as we become more aware of mental health and mental illness, we think it is safe to assume that this increased societal awareness is leading to better treatment for those suffering. If that were the case, mental illness would be on downward trend – in fact it is quite surprisingly the opposite.

Mental illness is on the rise. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression will actually be the most widespread global disease within by the end of the next decade.

For the purposes of this article, Let’s take a quick look at how mental health affects Canadians in particular.

Mental Illness in Canada

  • Each year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience some kind of mental health problem or illness
  • By age 40, close to 50% of the country’s population will have, or have had, a mental illness.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some point during their lives
  • Anxiety disorders 5% of the household population
  • 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by mental illness or disorder
  • Only 1 in 5 Canadian youth who need mental health services receive them

These are not the statistics we want to hear, so it is our responsibility as a society to work our hardest to find solutions to the mental health crisis (yes, crisis) that we are facing.

One technique that is now being used to help heal, or at least reduce symptoms in, those suffering with various mental health issues is massage therapy.

Massage therapy provides numerous benefits to those suffering physical ailments and is known to help reduce stress and rebalance our bodies – so it only makes sense that it would have the potential to provide similar benefits to those struggling with mental illness.

How Massage Therapy Can Help

In fact, massage therapy has been proven to assist those with mental illness in many ways. Different types of massage therapy have been found to have different affects, such as reducing symptoms, in individuals depending on what type of mental illness they are struggling with.

Two of the most common mental health issues, depression and anxiety, are two issues that have been found to greatly benefit from massage therapy.

Massage Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

The brain and the body are more connected than we realize.

A variety of studies have been done, along with the ongoing research that is taking place, in an attempt to understand the connection between massage therapy and mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety.

These studies have come to a number of helpful conclusions in terms of whether or not massage therapy is capable of reducing symptoms associated with these conditions, and how it does so.

  • Massage activates participants’ sympathetic nervous system, which aids in reducing anxiety and improving mood
  • Massage therapy activates various neurotransmitters that can decrease anxiety and lower stress hormone levels
  • Massage therapy increases the amount of “feel-good” hormones in our bodies, such as serotonin and dopamine, while simultaneously reducing the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone
  • Massage can alleviate many of the stress-inducers we experience, such as tension, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, insomnia, and headaches.

We already knew that massages were relaxing and stress relieving – but now we can see that they are so much more than that.

The ways in which massage therapy alters our nervous system and hormone balance in such a positive way make it hard to believe anything other than the idea that the connection between massage therapy and mental health is a strong one.

Mental illness brings us down – it creates a cloud of negative thoughts and feelings that overshadow our ability to enjoy life. The fact that a massage can trigger such positive chemical reactions within our body, reactions that are biologically intended to reduce stress and lift our moods, make massage therapy a great option to help those struggling with mental health issues.

It Can’t Hurt To Try

Many believe that massage therapy can help us to strengthen and heal our mind-body connection. This is evident in the ways in which we’ve seen massage therapy drastically reduce symptoms and improve quality of life once more for patients struggling with different mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety.

If you or someone you know is struggling with some form of mental illness, massage therapy might be the answer you are looking for.

Speak with a massage practitioner today about your concerns and open your mind to what they have to offer you.

References

  1. https://www.massagetique.com/blog/health-wellness/6-mental-health-benefits-of-massage-therapy/
  2. https://elementsmassage.com/blog/mental-health-loneliness-and-massage-
  3. https://cmha.ca/about-cmha/fast-facts-about-mental-illness

How Important is Continuing Education For Massage Therapists?

For most fields of study, it is obvious that continuing education is not only important, but is a necessity.

Techniques are constantly evolving to become more effective and efficient and ideologies are always changing and progressing. Not to mention the constant influx of new information, facts, problems, and solutions we gain from ongoing research that changes the way we see our jobs and the requirements asked of us, and the technological breakthroughs that change the ways we carry out our jobs all together.

If this is true, and expected, for professions such as accounting, nursing, or teaching, then why would it not be true for massage therapy?

The importance of continuing education for massage therapists is often under-credited.

Those who aren’t trained in massage therapy often view massages simply as a feel-good way to relax at the end of a stressful week, or something to indulge in while on a beach vacation – but there is more to the discipline than that. Those who are part of the profession * should * understand that, and subsequently, the importance of not only being open to continuous learning but striving for it.

To answer your question of how important continuing education is for massage therapists – it is very important. Keep reading below to find out why.

Why Continuing Education is Important For Massage Therapists

Massage therapy may not be a perfectly established or understood practice, but it is a complex one. It involves spirituality and science working together in a blend of knowledge and creative understanding that requires carefully executed techniques and processes. Of course one of the most important aspects of evolving and improving your practice, as a massage therapist, is experience – but experience will not teach you everything.

Experience is imperative to your practice – being able to find your style, hone in on your technique, learning how to approach different real-life situations, and build relationships with your clients – but these aspects of your practice also rely on an educational foundation.

This foundation is created during your initial certification courses and training – you learn the history, the ideologies, and, of course, the technical aspects surrounding your chosen focus – but it does not end there.

However, while continuing education is ideal for all massage therapists, the degree of importance for such does have some dependency on the “track” of massage therapy that you are practicing. In the broadest terms, there are two tracks: personal care service and healthcare modality.

Personal Care Service vs. Healthcare Modality

As we’ve said before, continuing education is important for you, as a massage therapist, no matter which path you have chosen. However, certain fields of massage therapy do require continuing education more seriously than others.

In terms of personal care service, continuing education is more or less an additional benefit – you can enhance your technique and skills in a way that will benefit your practice and your clients. In terms of healthcare modality, it is a matter of necessity – the health and safety of your clients, in this track, demands continuing education.

Personal Care Service

This “genre” shall we say, of massage therapy holds a focus on general relaxation and wellness enhancement. These massages are meant to be enjoyable, relaxing, and stress relieving, but are not used as specific treatments for any type of pain, injury, or illness.

Healthcare Modality

Massages under this track are intended specifically to address and eliminate pain and treat injury in your clients. For this reason, continuing education is a must. A massage performed incorrectly or where not necessary brings with it the potential to harm or injure the client even further.

It’s A Requirement

While it would make sense that each of the previously mentioned tracks would have different requirements because of their extremely different natures that is not the case. Because there are no actual licensing differences to distinguish those in the personal care service track and those in the healthcare modality track, it would be impossible to dictate and enforce different educational requirements.

For this reason, continuing education is actually, by default, a requirement for all in the massage therapy profession.

This may seem a burden to those in the personal care service track who feel that they don’t need it, or those who simply feel that experience outweighs anything they could learn in a classroom, but it should not.

It’s imperative to understand the importance of continuing education for everyone.

Here are some examples of how continuing education is important to any practicing massage therapist. Continuing education:

  • Fills in the gaps from your basic training – even the best licensing programs don’t prepare you perfectly for the complexity of clinic work, continuing education will make you more confident and competent when working with clients
  • Protects the public – there are instances where the wrong type of massage in the wrong area can cause more harm than good, and the more education you have the better you will be able to avoid such situations
  • Benefits your practice – the more additional training courses you take, the more opportunity you have to either diversify your practice more or master one specific field of massage therapy
  • Sets you above the rest – clients will feel more confident with a therapist who has multiple credentials and shows their willingness and desire to continue their education to better themselves and their skills

The Answer Is Clear

As you can see, continuing education is invaluable in the benefits it will provide not only to you as a therapist and to your practice, but to your clients as well. It should be something you strive for as a professional.

Continuing education is not just about learning a few “new moves” – it’s about understanding and embracing your skills, utilizing and changing techniques to suit your clients needs, approaching new or challenging situations with the knowledge and confidence to make a difference, and about understanding and building on the relationships you have with your clients.

References

  1. https://www.massagetique.com/blog/business-of-massage/12-characteristics-of-a-top-massage-therapy-school/
  2. https://www.academyofclinicalmassage.com/the-role-of-continuing-education-for-massage-therapists/
  3. https://bodyinmindinstitute.com/continuing-education-important-massage-therapists/
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