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

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

Massage Therapy and Temporomandibular Disorders

It’s not news that massages offer more benefits to us than just a few heavenly minutes of relaxation (and some peace and quiet) – in reality they can serve as a natural solution to many of the illnesses, injuries, and everyday aches and pains we experience.

Of course, not all types of massages are suitable for every ache and pain – but the right massage can work wonders.

With that in mind, we are going to take a look at how massage therapy relates to and aids with one specific set of issues that many people experience: Temporomandibular disorders.

An Introduction to Temporomandibular Disorders

The term “Temporomandibular disorders” encompasses a variety of issues that affect one’s temporomandibular joint.

But What Is the Temporomandibular Joint?

To put it in the simplest terms, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the piece that connects your jawbone to your skull (along with the various ligaments and muscles that are connected to it).

This piece, the TMJ is a small disc-like piece of cartilage that sits between the upper jawbone (which is along the base of your skull) and the lower jawbone.

Essentially, it is a hinge (yes, like on a door) that allows movement of the jaw. Unlike a door hinge, however, which only provides one form or direction of movement, the TMJ enables us to move our jaws in a few different ways.

Not only does the TMJ allow us to move our jaw in an up and down motion, we are also able to move our jaws in both a forward and backward sliding motion and a side-to-side sliding motion.

This range of motions combine to allow us to perform various functions such as speaking, chewing food, etc.

What Are Some Common TMJ Injuries?

Different injuries to the TMJ, known as the temporomandibular disorders (TMD), can arise due to a variety of reasons and can cause different symptoms for different individuals.

The most common causes of TMD are:
  • Trauma to the jaw, joint, or surrounding muscles – such as whiplash or a forceful hit to the jaw/face – which can cause fractures or torn ligaments/muscles
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth, which in turn causes too much pressure on the joint and can cause inflammation and soreness
  • Arthritis in the joint

How Can I Tell If I Have A TMD?

Of course, you won’t know for sure unless you visit a doctor, but some common symptoms to watch for if you suspect you have injured your TMJ are:

  • Pain, soreness, and general discomfort of the area (on one or both sides of your face)
  • Difficulties opening and closing your mouth, especially when eating or yawning
  • Clicking or popping noises when opening and closing your mouth
  • Swelling (again, on one or both sides of your face)
  • Toothaches, headaches, neck aches, or earaches
  • And lastly, even dizziness or ringing in your ears (also known as Tinnitus)

Massage Therapy for TMD?

Many who suffer from TMD have found the typical doctor recommended exercises, medications, etc. to be of little to no help in reducing the pain and discomfort their TMJ is causing them. This leads to many cases of individuals dealing with these issues long term – living with the pain everyday.

Fear not.

If you have been diagnosed with a TMD, there may be a few ways to heal the joint – or at least relieve some of the pain and discomfort impeding on your daily life – using massage therapy.

Intra-Oral VS. Extra-Oral Massages

When it comes to TMD, there are two directions you can take with your massage therapy treatment: intra-oral or extra-oral.

Intra-oral massages consist of treatment of the muscles inside of the cheek. This means the massage is done inside of your mouth. Massaging these muscles from inside, rather than from outside of the mouth, can actually be up to 80% more effective.

Extra-oral massages include any massaging of the facial muscles around the mouth from the outside. These massages are less invasive – and in turn more comfortable – and still highly effective for treating a variety of TMD symptoms.

Below we will take a look at one type of extra-oral massage that is commonly used to help treat issues surrounding the temporomandibular joint.

Myofascial Release for TMD

Myofascial release is a technique used specifically to help relax muscles and soft tissues in order to regain function and treat chronic pain – both of which are symptoms highly common to TMD.

Your fascias are the connective tissues that surround your muscles – injury and inflammation of your fascias can cause pain and discomfort and restrict motion. These fascial restrictions are common for those who have issues with their TMJ.

So, What Is Myofascial Release?

This is a technique used by trained therapists that consists of light pressure being applied to the soft tissue area around the affected area to release fascial restrictions. This release is done by increasing blood flow in the area, relaxing the muscles, and elongating the fascial tissues.

What to Expect

Going for a Myofascial release session is very similar to going to any other type of massage therapy. Your session may last from 30 minutes up to an hour, and will begin with your therapist identifying the certain areas that will need to be worked on.

For TMD, the areas that your Myofascial therapist will typically work on include the muscles and soft tissues of your neck, shoulders, jaw, and various spots around your head (including the intra-oral massage technique we discussed earlier).

Of course, it’s also important to practice techniques outside of your scheduled appointments as well. Self-care techniques that your therapist can show to you will only quicken the healing process and keep the pain at ease.

What Are You Waiting For?

Many who have gone through various massage-therapy treatments for different issues surrounding their temporomandibular joint have seen significantly reduced pain and discomfort as well as increased flexibility and movement of the jaw.

If you have been diagnosed with any type of TMD, or are experiencing symptoms that sound like it could be TMD – speak with your medical professional about massage therapy treatments and whether or not they would be right for you.

References:

  1. https://www.massagetique.com/types/myofascial-release/
  2. http://www.rmtedu.com/blog/temporomandibular-disorders
  3. https://brontewellness.com/expect-tmjintra-oral-massage/
  4. http://intrains.co.uk/experience/shop
  5. https://paincareclinic.co.uk/pain/pain-conditions/tmj-and-jaw-pain/

Gua Sha Massage: FAQ’s & Common Questions

You’ve probably heard of the Thai massage, and you’ve definitely heard of the Swedish massage, but have you ever heard of the Gua Sha massage?

Probably not – but that’s okay.

There are so many different “types” of massage therapy practiced all over the world – too many to count surely – that it would be ridiculous to expect someone, anyone, to be familiar with all of them.

But this is one type of massage you’re going to want to know about.

Gua Sha is an ancient and unique approach to natural healing that has the potential to counter a variety of health issues faced by individuals today.

Learn more about what Gua Sha is and how it can help you by reading our FAQ and common questions answered below.

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese massage therapy dating back at least 700 years, to the Ming Dynasty. Despite this technique having such a long history across Eastern Asia, it is only within the last few decades that this practice has made its way into the western world.

Roughly translated, “Gua Sha” means “to scrape away fever”, as Gua is the Chinese term for rub or scrape, and Sha refers to an energy within the body that causes excess heat.

Of course, in ancient times this technique was considered more of a spiritual practice, believing that the combination of the tools and the movements were able to rid one’s body of blocked “energies” that were causing the negative effects. Today, in western society, the concept is more scientific than spiritual, but follows the same general idea, only with the focus being on ridding the body of heat and inflammation, rather than of negative energies.

How is Gua Sha Performed?

How Gua Sha is performed is what makes it inherently different from some of the other more common massage techniques you may know of.

While most massages are performed solely with one’s hands, the Gua Sha technique requires a tool – a firm object possessing smooth, rounded edges – to use against the skin.

Traditionally, a soupspoon, coin, or piece of water buffalo horn are used, but over the years and with the transition to western society, a variety of other tools – even tools made specifically for this purpose – are now common within the practice as well.

After the targeted area is oiled, the tool is then used, specifically at a 45-degree angle, to rub a combination of long and short downward strokes across the skin. This is done to bring the heat to the surface of the skin, with the intent of releasing it from the body.

Most commonly, this technique is used on the back, neck, arms, legs, and buttocks, but is also sometimes performed (more delicately) on the chest and face. Where the massage is performed depends on what type of issue is being treated.

When is Gua Sha Used?

Typically, this type of massage therapy is used to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system. By doing this, Gua Sha is believed to be able to treat a number of conditions varying from acute or chronic disorders, the common cold or flu, and everyday aches and pains.

What Are the Benefits of Gua Sha?

Gua Sha carries with it a number of benefits that affect our bodies in different ways. A few of these benefits include:

  • A Stimulated Immune System – when Gua Sha is performed, it helps to activate the recipient’s immune system. With the immune system activated, the body is better able to speed up its natural healing process. This allows the recipient to better combat current illnesses and is proactive in helping one to avoid future illnesses.
  • Reduced Pain – because Gua Sha is a natural anti-inflammatory, it can significantly reduce both chronic and acute pain caused by a number of different issues that center around inflammation of different parts of the body.
  • Increased Circulation – the ways in which Gua Sha stimulates the body helps to increase the circulation of various fluids within the body. The improved circulation helps our bodies better rid themselves of waste, specifically metabolic waste, which congests our muscles.
  • Anti-Aging Properties – this is, of course, not one of the medical benefits of Gua Sha, but who wouldn’t want to add a massage to their beauty routine? A gentler version of Gua Sha used on the face can help smooth lines and wrinkles, tighten the skin, and decrease puffiness around the eyes.

Aside from the various chronic illnesses often treated with Gua Sha, a number of studies have been done determining that Gua Sha has in fact promoted healing for a an even larger array of health concerns, including (but not limited to): Hepatitis B, migraines, Tourette’s, and Perimenopausal syndrome.

In each of the case studies, patients noticed improvements with their symptoms, such as reduced pain and discomfort, less anxiety, and even cured insomnia.

Is Gua Sha Safe?

While Gua Sha is a safe technique, it is still in one’s best interest to contact their doctor or another medical professional before seeking treatment – and seek treatment from someone qualified to perform the massage properly.

Of course, Gua Sha is not suitable for everybody. If you are experiencing any of the following, than Gua Sha may not be for you:

  • You have recently had surgery
  • You are on blood thinners or are prone to blood clots
  • You have some sort of medical implant, such as a pacemaker
  • You have an open wound or infection

Is Gua Sha For You?

If you believe Gua Sha may be beneficial in treating an ailment you are struggling with, discuss it with your doctor. Gua Sha, when performed correctly, can have an amazing impact on many different issues and can truly help to improve the quality of life for the individuals struggling with those issues.

Aside from its healing effects, Gua Sha can be a great way to simply relax and soothe your muscles and mind.

With benefits like these, there is really no harm in considering Gua Sha as a treatment (or just a treat). Find a qualified therapist near you now and experience it for yourself.

References

  1. https://www.massagetique.com/types/gua-sha/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/gua-sha#benefits
  3. https://blog.sidekicktool.com/what-is-gua-sha-therapy-how-it-works/
  4. https://www.europeanmedicalmassageco.com/techniques/raindrop-technique-2/gua-sha-faqs/#toggle-id-5
  5. https://www.bluecreekhealth.com/posts/gua-sha-benefits/