Ways to Celebrate EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week

At Massagetique, we believe in the importance of sharing the benefits of massage with the community. EveryBody Deserves a Massage week encourages massage therapists and bodyworkers across the country to come together and do just that. This recognition week was founded by Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) in 1995 to help promote the importance of massage and bodywork within local communities.

Join the Massagetique team and others in recognizing EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week from July 15-21. We encourage you to share the benefits of massage with those around you during this week and take steps to make massage more accessible to everyone in your community.

You might do this by:

  • Teaching a class on massage
  • Giving a lecture about different types of massage
  • Hosting an event to demonstrate massage techniques that can be practiced at home as self-care
  • Volunteering your services or offering discounts
  • Creating a contest
  • Creating and sharing informational flyers. 

The Massagetique team has created images you can share on social media and elsewhere to help promote EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week. Feel free to save, download, and/or print the images below and use them in your marketing materials (click on an image to download the file).

Additionally, here are educational articles about massage you can share on your blog, social media platforms, or other outlets throughout the week:

Throughout the week, Massagetique will share massage resources on our website and social media platforms and highlight ways massage can promote wellness and help treat health conditions. Let us know how you intend to celebrate EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week in the comments below. Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #EveryBodyDeservesMassage.

5 Ways Aston-Patterning Can Improve Your Quality of Life

Regardless of who you are, where you are from, or what you do, something everyone has in common is the fact that our bodies can only handle so much. At some point in time our bodies will reach a limit; things that were once easy and required no thought now cause discomfort, leaving us wondering what we did wrong that lead our bodies to behave in such a way.

Whether brought on by stress, over-exertion, poor posture, or the monotonous movements of our day-to-day lives, these unwanted and unexplainable aches and pains are inevitable.

Fortunately enough, these aches and pains are usually tolerable. We treat them as something we’ve learned to live with and accept them as part of our normal, everyday lives. It’s not ideal, but it’s easy, for the most part.

However, this passive acceptance is not the only option we have.

Most healing techniques used today, especially in western medicine, treat us as if we were all the same. Treatments are often linear and are administered as such. Our bodies, however, are all unique, meaning that these one-size-fits-all type treatments won’t be effective to the same extent from one person to the next.

The ways in which we heal and care for our bodies must be tailored to our own body’s individuality.

That is why we want all of you to know about one of our favourite forms of physical therapy, Aston-Patterning.

What is Aston-Patterning?

Aston-Patterning is an integrated system of movement education, bodywork, ergonomic adjustments, and fitness training that recognizes the relationship between the body and the mind for well-being.

In other words, it is a series of techniques used to help one become more aware of their body’s natural form to help teach them the proper way of moving and using their body in order to relieve common aches and pains and reduce risk of injury.

History

The Aston-Patterning process was created by Judith Aston in 1977.

After suffering injuries from two separate vehicle accidents in 1968, Judith sought treatment from Dr. Ida Rolf, creator of the Rolfing process. Rolfing is a technique of deep tissue manipulation aimed at the release and realignment of the body, and the reduction of muscular tension.

Post-treatment, Dr. Rolf approached Ms. Aston to aid her in developing a movement education program that would compliment Rolfing process, as Ms. Aston had years of experience working as a movement education program director with dancers and athletes.

After 6 years of working on this program together, Ms. Aston and Dr. Rolf parted ways, as their interests, ideas, and beliefs began to change and diverge. Despite their joint project coming to an end, Ms. Aston chose to continue on with the work they had been focusing on and, instead, created her own personal program using techniques she established and developed.

She called this new movement education program Aston-Patterning.

 How It Works

Aston-Patterning sessions are done one-on-one with a certified therapist and can last anywhere from 1-2 hours. Every patient is different, and so it is difficult to predict exactly how many sessions one may need – it will depend on the problem being addressed and the efficiency by which the patient becomes comfortable with the techniques used.

There are 4 core components one should expect when walking into an Aston-Patterning session.

  • History Consult – This is where the therapist and patient discuss a personal and medical history of the patient. This is so the therapist can grasp a better understanding the client and their needs.
  • Pre-Testing – The therapist will examine the patient doing a variety of movement patterns to determine where there the patients pain may be stemming from and where there is potential for improvement.
  • Movement Education and Bodywork – This portion of the sessions is where the techniques chosen will be taught and practiced. The techniques chosen will depend on the history and pre-testing,
  • Post-Testing – During post-testing, the movement patterns done during the pre-testing are repeated. This is so the patient can feel the changes that have taken place in their movements since practicing the various bodywork techniques.

These sessions can include a variety of techniques, including: massages for relieving tension; lessons on proper posture and body movements, such as sitting, standing, or walking; and certain strength training exercises.

Aside from physical techniques, the therapist will also take into consideration more personal aspects of the patients life, such as lifestyle, habits, personal beliefs, typical moving patterns, etc.

As you can see, Aston-Patterning is highly focused on the individual and their needs. Every patient is treated in a way that fits their needs, lifestyle, and body. It truly focuses on how each patient has a unique body and works to understand how that individual can learn to use their body is the safest and most effective and efficient way possible.

How Can Aston-Patterning Benefit You?

There are multiple ways in which becoming more in tune with your body and how you move can benefit you, and that is exactly what Aston-Patterning does.

To give you the best idea of what we mean, we’ve outlined the top 5 ways Aston-Patterning can improve your quality of life.

  1. Minimize Consequences of Repetitive Movements

Repetitive Strain Injury (or RSI for short) is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves, and/or tendons that is caused by repetitive movements, overuse, unnatural or awkward motions, overexertion, incorrect posture, or even muscle fatigue. Not surprisingly, RSI’s are incredibly common.

While this type of injury is quite often seen amongst athletes or those with physically demanding jobs, they can actually affect essentially anyone.

The reason that anyone can suffer from RSI’s is because there are many basic, day-to-day activities that are considered repetitive and can easily be the cause of RSI. Some examples of the types of everyday activities that can put this type of strain on our bodies are: jogging, scrubbing the floor, clapping, throwing a ball, etc.

Aston-Patterning can help reduce your chances of incurring these types of injuries first by helping you better recognize the types of movements that may cause them. If you are able to recognize when you are doing these repetitive movements, you can alter the way in which you are doing them to ensure the least amount of strain on yourself. 

  1. Reduce Negative Aspects of Aging

It’s no big secret that as we age our bodies start to deteriorate a little; our posture becomes worse and worse, leaving us with hunched or rounded backs and shoulders, we lose a lot of the strength in our core and limbs that we once had, and even our bones become more fragile.

Aston-Patterning helps reduce some (not all) of these signs of aging by teaching you to listen to your body, and use it only in ways that optimize its performance. Much of the negative aspects of aging are worsened by the constant strain and stress our bodies go through.

By practicing Aston-Patterning from a young age, you can act proactively and preventatively, rather than trying to reverse effects of aging that are already present.

Not only will you more fit and capable as you age, but you can reduce your chances of falling ill; your stronger muscles will be less likely to incur injuries; you can reduce your chances of needing a walker or cane due to poor posture; and the elimination of bodily stress can even work wonders for the health and appearance of your skin.

  1. Reduce Risk of Injury

Some of us are just clumsy, and some of us may take part in activities that have the potential of injury. Either way, practicing the Aston-Patterning process can help.

By strengthening the relationship between mind and body, we become more aware of our movements. This awareness can in turn help to improve how we use our bodies: it can improve our balance, agility, and posture, which in turn will ease much of the tension from our muscles.

The more relaxed our muscles are, and the more gracefully we move, the less chance there is of injury. This is because we are more cognizant of how we are using our bodies (which can reduce any accidents or falls we may have), but also because relaxed muscles are less likely to overexert, which is where many injuries result from.

This makes Aston-Patterning especially appealing to athletes and dancers, as muscle injuries are very common within these communities.

  1. Increase Energy/Stamina

Muscle strain and stress makes our bodies tired. When our muscles are strained they are working overtime, even for simple tasks. This can quickly exhaust our bodies’ energy stores.

The more efficiently we use our bodies, the less stress we are putting our muscles through.

By using your muscles properly, you eliminate the overexertion caused by everyday tasks. If your body does not need to input so much energy for such simple tasks, you will have the energy and stamina for other activities.

You body will feel refreshed and revitalized, instead of tired and overworked.

  1. Less Prone to Illness

Stress has a lot more implications on the body than we may recognize. Not only does it play a part in the aches and pains we feel, but can also lead to a variety of illnesses.

Illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and Alzheimer’s can be caused or made worse by stress.

When we are not using our bodies correctly, the physical stress we feel can translate into our minds as well. If we alleviate the strain on our bodies, we can in turn alleviate the stress in our minds.

This is why one of the main goals of Aston-Patterning is working on the relationship between mind and body. It is apparent that they are interconnected, and Aston-Patterning seeks to teach us how to use that connection to improve both our physical and mental health.

Things To Consider

There are a variety of health concerns that can interfere with or be irritated by Aston-Patterning because of its physically demanding nature.

Health conditions that could make Aston-Patterning dangerous, painful, or uncomfortable include: heart conditions, respiratory problems, diabetes, osteoporosis, carpel tunnel syndrome and bleeding disorders.

If you have any of the aforementioned health issues, or any other physical or mental health concerns, please consult your doctor before taking part in Aston-Patterning, or any physically demanding treatment processes.

References

  1. http://www.massagetherapy101.com/massage-techniques/aston-patterning.aspx
  2. https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/divisions-diagnostics-and-procedures/medicine/aston-patterning
  3. https://wholehealthchicago.com/2009/05/06/aston-patterning/

The Alexander Technique – What It Is and How To Perform It

Everything about our world today is go go go.

We have been conditioned to believe that busier is better. This notion that the more we do and the faster we do it will make us happy, successful, or simply better than the next person.

Not only does this actually result in the opposite more often than not, as we are so rushed that we end up missing out on the things that matter, but it can also put a strain on our bodies without us even realizing it.

Posture Is The Problem

Stress, which is an inevitable result of the hectic lives we are living, is known to be linked to more physical problems such as poor posture or muscle aches. Where one is found, the others will follow; they play off each other.

Bad posture is one of the most obvious and problematic results of our current lifestyles. Spending too much time in the car, at our desks, or just running from place to place leaves our bodies tired, uncomfortable, and just in generally unhealthy positions. Unfortunately, this less than adequate posture can lead to a lot more issues than a sore back.

With our lack of time (or real desire) to actively work on changing our posture, and our body’s inability to correct the issues subconsciously, our bodies become more and more accustomed to the bad habits we are developing, and it becomes increasingly to correct them.

“I’ll just go get a massage”, is what you are most likely thinking.

Sure, a massage will help ease these aches and pains caused by everyday life, but we both know this is only a temporary fix.

Yes, you could go and get regular massages (something we’d all like to do), but that will get expensive, and besides, not everyone has a schedule that will allow for such luxuries (you know, with life as busy as it is).

So rather than relying on an expensive and time consuming temporary fix for once the problem is already present, why not take a proactive approach and learn how to correct and prevent the issues all together.

The Alexander Technique Is The Answer

What Is The Alexander Technique?

The Alexander Technique is a system that works to promote well-being by retraining one’s awareness and habits of posture to ensure minimum effort and strain.

The goal of this technique is essentially to help you become more mindful of your body and your movements. Through this method, you should see changes in your habits that will improve your ease of movement, your balance and coordination, and your comfort in general.

Rather than being a series of passive treatments, it is more of a skill for self-development. Through the Alexander Technique, you will learn how to recognize your own harmful habits, how to stop and actively think of what you are doing, and how to correct them.

This method helps you to focus on how you are using your body, and to, both actively and subconsciously, adopt more positive and beneficial habits.

It’s Origins

Frederick Matthias Alexander developed this technique in the 1890’s.

As a young actor, Alexander faced reoccurring vocal problems, which posed as a threat to his budding career. With doctors unable to locate any medically linked root cause to his problem, Alexander began investigating the situation himself.

After considering all of the factors involved, and observing himself while encountering the vocal problems, he began to recognize a pattern; the vocal issues were the result of tension in his neck muscles caused by a change in his posture during vocal recitals.

Once Alexander became aware of this pattern, he was able to spend time working on a way to reverse it. He spent years working on actively changing his habitual reaction to reciting, which resulted in his ability to perform without the change in his posture occurring – because he now had more control over his posture, he was not becoming tense during recitals, which greatly improved his vocal talents.

Others took notice of his improvements and began approaching him for help. Alexander began teaching his methods to those seeking his help, and after a few years was able to turn these teachings into a career.

Not only did Alexander established a successful practice in London based on the methods he created, but he continued on to train over 80 other individuals to teach his techniques, even published 4 books on the subject, and even founded a school focused on teaching these techniques to children.

The Reasoning Behind It

By becoming more aware of your habits, and actively working on making improvements where necessary, you will find yourself feeling much better both physically and mentally. The strain that poor posture puts on our bodies causes problems that run deeper than a muscle ache now and again.

Bad posture can lead to a variety of health issues, such as poor circulation, increased risk of diseases (such as diabetes), stomach and intestinal problems (such as constipation), weight gain, depression, and stress.

You may already be aware of bad habits that you have, especially when it comes to your posture. Maybe you slouch or hunch your shoulders when you walk, or you have problems keeping your back straight when sitting all day; either way it takes more than just recognizing the problem to correct it.

Sure you might force yourself to straighten out every so often when you realize what you are doing, but it takes a lot more than that to properly correct bad posture.

That is what the Alexander Technique is for. It trains you to be constantly aware of your body and how you are using it. With this new sense of mindfulness, you are more likely to begin fixing your posture without thinking about it as much, which will eventually lead to you simply having proper posture around the clock.

Who Should Use This Technique?

It may sound redundant, but every single person can benefit from learning the Alexander technique.

While we have mostly referred to the technique in regards to learning to recognize our movements with the purpose of correcting poor posture, it can actually be used in a multitude of other situations.

Performers

The Alexander Technique is commonly applied to various performing arts programs; for example, those who sing, dance, act, or play instruments can benefit from these techniques.

Learning to be cognizant of how your muscles are performing and being able to control them can help in any of these situations; playing instruments becomes more fluid, dancing becomes more graceful, acting appears more natural, and singing becomes smoother. Not only can it improve performance, but it can also work to prevent injury caused by straining or tension on the muscles.

Active Individuals

The idea that the Alexander technique helps us control our muscles and keep them relaxed and free of tension, resulting in less chance of injury, means that it is also a valuable technique for anyone who is considers themselves active.

Whether you are a professional athlete or a first time gym member, being able to move and exercise with more freedom, agility, and efficiency can only have positive effects. Not only can following the methods set out by the Alexander Technique lower your chances of incurring muscle injuries while being active, but it can also help improve your skills in whatever activity it is you are participating in.

Children

Learning to be mindful and conscious of your body and your movements is not necessarily something that only adults should consider; these techniques could have real positive impacts throughout life if taught to everyone at a young age.

Frederick Alexander thought so himself and that is why he funded a school with the purpose of educating children on his techniques.

Being more in tune with your body, especially in terms of having better posture, can sow many long-term benefits if learned as a child. Typically as children we already have decent posture, and it is as we go through school and then our working lives where our posture suffers.

However, if at a young age we learn to move and hold ourselves in a way that keeps us balanced and keeps our muscles relaxed, we will be more likely to retain this mindfulness and the techniques used as we age, preventing our posture from deteriorating and, along with it, avoiding the many issues that it can cause.

Everyone Else

While the examples above outline why the Alexander Technique is beneficial for certain demographics, it truthfully is something that everyone could benefit from.

At some point, we all lose touch with our bodies, our posture, our movement; it may be consistent, or perhaps it only happens while we are doing certain tasks or performing certain activities, either way it puts strain on our muscles, which in turn affects our health and comfort.

Anything that can help alleviate this imbalance between our minds and our bodies is surely worth a try.

How Is The Alexander Technique Performed?

This is a tough question to answer, as the technique will vary from session to session, pupil to pupil.

Sessions are one-on-one and are completed by certified teachers. They will first observe you; how you move, how you sit, how you stand. By doing this, they will help you pinpoint any harmful movement habits you may have.

Once determining where your problems lie, they will use their hands to guide you in your movements, showing you how to hold yourself while you walk, sit, or stand, in a way that eases tension in your muscles and improves your balance.

Your teacher may give you certain exercises or methods to practice on a day-to-day basis, but these will be specific to you, your body, and your lifestyle.

The main goal is to strengthen and improve the relationship between your head, neck, shoulders, and back by implementing the methods used in your sessions. In order for your body to learn and understand these new movements and techniques, you must be committed to putting them into practice and you must be patient.

If you are able to do this, you will eventually find yourself implementing these techniques subconsciously – your body will move and perform in a healthier and more efficient manner without needing to be reminded to do so.

Interested?

The Alexander Technique is now practiced all around the world, and for good reason. If you suffer from poor posture, back or neck pain, or frequent headaches; you are an athlete or a performer and you wish to improve your skills and lessen your chances of injury; or you simply want to rebalance your mind and body, don’t hesitate to book with a qualified Alexander Technique teacher near you.

References

  1. https://www.thejoint.com/texas/houston/cy-fair-28009/212488-stress-posture-back-pain-are-they-linked
  2. https://alexandertechnique.co.uk/alexander-technique/history
  3. http://www.alexander-technique-london.co.uk/alexander-technique-faq/#352

The Benefits of Indian Head Massage

There are many reasons why people turn to massage therapy. The manual manipulation, by rubbing or kneading, of our muscles and other soft tissues works wonders for reducing stress, relieving pain, eliminating tension, and even aiding in curing various health ailments.

No matter where your aches and pains are or what they stem from, there isn’t a lot that a good massage can’t help with, even if it just brings temporary relief.

This range of health benefits is largely due to the hundreds of techniques and styles of massage therapy practiced today.

One such style is the Indian Head Massage; perfect for ridding you of that pesky tension headache, loosening up those stiff and achy shoulders, rebalancing your energies, and even aiding in giving you happier and healthier hair (and those are just some of the benefits of Indian Head Massage).

What is the Indian Head Massage?

Today, the Indian Head Massage is a technique involving acupressure in the upper back, shoulders, neck, and head.

The primary intent of this massage style is releasing muscle knots and tension in the upper body, encouraging better circulation of the cerebral fluid throughout the head, and promoting hair growth and healthy skin.

Where Did It Originate?

The Indian Head Massage is part of an ancient Hindu healthcare practice known as Ayurveda (from the Sanskrit words ayur meaning “life” and veda meaning “science” or “knowledge”). It originated in India over 1000 years ago. Ayurveda itself is thought to be over 3000 years old, and actually remains one of the country’s most common and traditional health care practices.

Initially invented by women, this particular style of massage was primarily used to enhance their scalp and hair health, and that of their daughters.

Often used in conjunction with various oils (such as almond, coconut, olive, and sesame – each providing a unique benefit), it was quickly realized that these techniques not only aided in keeping their locks luxurious, but also promoted good health in general and even helped enhance the body’s natural healing powers.

It became a common family tradition; mothers would massage the heads of their babies and as they grew into young children. As they got older, the children learned the techniques themselves in order to perform the head massage on their elder family members in return and eventually to pass down to their children, keeping the tradition alive from generation to generation.

Until recently, 1973 to be exact, this massage style was still confined to India, unknown to the rest of the world.

It was Indian native Narendra Mehta who blessed the world with this unique and traditional massage after he had moved from India to England to continue his education and was underwhelmed when he found no such massage type available in his new home.

This prompted him to return to India, study the traditional head massage he had missed so much, and return to England to offer this new service. The technique spread from England to the rest of the world quickly, and is common throughout most western civilizations today.

In fact, it was Mehta who transformed this technique from the scalp focused traditional massage seen hundreds of years ago in India to the holistic upper-body massage it is known as today.

What To Expect

To say that an Indian Head Massage will relax you is a severe understatement.

Not only does this type of message therapy put you into a serene state of mind, but it will leave you feeling as if a physical weight was lifted off your shoulders.

Mentally

Following the traditional Ayurvedic approach, an important aspect of this type of massage is to work on healing the balance of energies within your body.

The Indian Head Massage focuses on stimulating three specific chakras: the Chakras of the Throat, the Third Eye/Brow, and the Crown Chakra.

Rebalancing and healing these Chakras can have many positive affects on you psychologically and even spiritually.

You can expect to leave your appointment with restored senses of peace and tranquility, relieved of stress and worry you may have been carrying with you, and feeling generally more relaxed and at ease.

Physically

The Indian Head Massage differs slightly, from a physical standpoint, from most other types of massages available.

During this type of massage you should expect to be seated upright and you will remain clothed (unless you opt for a focus on your shoulders, in which case you can expect to wrap a towel around your torso).

The massage typically begins with pressure being applied in specific locations around your upper back and shoulders in order to remove any knots that may be present (known as acupressure) and reduce the tension in surrounding muscles. Your masseuse will then work their way up to your neck and finish by massaging the around the skull, usually with certain types of essential oils.

How an Indian Head Massage Benefit Will Benefit You

Aside from feeling amazing and being a great way to relax and shut the world out for an hour, there are actually many health benefits to booking yourself an Indian Head Massage.

  • Prevention of Headaches/Migraines and Back Pain

Tension and tightness in the upper back and neck is one of the most common culprits of headaches, migraines, and even back pain.

By targeting and loosening the knots and tight muscles in your upper body and encouraging better circulation of cerebrospinal fluid by massaging the neck and scalp, you can rid yourself of that tightness and pounding overtaking your day.

  • Relieve Insomnia and Improve Your Quality of Sleep

Indian Head Massages target both the physical and mental stress your body may be coping with, and aim to transport you into a calm state of deep relaxation.

Removing muscular discomfort, improving circulation of fluids throughout your brain, and promoting relaxation and enhanced senses helps your body’s healing abilities.

This rids your body of the stress that is preventing your brain from shutting down when you need to sleep, which in turn allows you to let your body fall into a restful state of relaxation once again.

  • Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Massaging the head aids in increasing and revitalizing the circulation of oxygen through your brain. Increasing the flow of oxygen to your brain helps regain the proper chemical balance needed to maintain a healthy mental state.

The Indian Head Massage will encourage higher oxygen flow to your brain, lifting your mood and effectively reducing a variety of both mental and physical symptoms caused by anxiety or depression.

  • Strengthens Memory

Too often, we let our brains become overloaded with thoughts, ideas, and feelings, usually being too busy to take a moment to breath and sort ourselves out. When we become too overloaded with information, we become incapable of properly categorizing and organizing these thoughts, which in turns hinders the efficiency of our memories.

The ways in which an Indian Head Massages help to rebalance our Chakras and strengthen our mental and sensual awareness is essentially a “reset” on our cluttered minds. This reset allows us to slow down and re-establish self-awareness, effectively revitalizing our memory.

  • Revives Energy Levels

Chakras are, in fact, commonly referred to as the bodies “energies”. By rebalancing your chakras, you are effectively rebalancing the energies within your body.

By combining this rebalancing of energies with the cleansing of your mental state and the relaxation of your physical body, you will feel a new type of energy throughout your body.

You will feel energetic, refreshed, stabilized, and ready to face the day.

  • Detoxifies Your Body

Through certain massage techniques used on the neck (specifically the lymph nodes), the Indian Head Massage can stimulate and improve lymphatic drainage and blood flow.

The lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste products, bacteria, and damaged cells from our body’s tissues. This makes it crucial to our immune system and our body’s healing capabilities.

By encouraging better circulation of our body’s lymph, we are increasing the efficiency and effectiveness by which our body rids itself of waste and harmful substances.

In turn, we will not only feel better on a day-to-day basis, but we will also target or prevent certain health problems (such as swelling of the face or limbs, production of cancer cells, etc.), as well as clearing and refocusing our minds (thanks to better oxygen circulation resulting from less toxins within our bodies). 

  • Promotes Healthy Skin and Hair

Massaging the scalp is proven to promote longer and healthier hair by encouraging better blood flow to the scalp.

This is the portion of the massage where adding essential oils into the routine has to most benefits. Different types of oils can have positive effects both on your skin and your hair.

For your skin, the best oils to use are Tea Tree Oil, Lemon Oil, and Chamomile Oil. Tea Tree Oil and Chamomile Oil both sooth the skin, which can work to cure a dry or itchy scalp. Lemon Oil is great for fighting dandruff.

For hair health, you want to use Castor Oil, Almond Oil, and Peppermint Oil. All of these oils promote hair growth through improved blood circulation.

What Are You Waiting For?

Whether you need to work on all of the above mentioned health concerns that are easily targeted by this type of massage therapy, or simple want to disconnect and relax for an hour, and Indian Head Massage is just the answer you’ve been looking for.

This blend of both modern and traditional technique is sure to help boost your mental and emotional well-being at the same time that it eases many of your body’s aches and pains.

There is a good reason this massage has been passed down from generation to generation for over a thousand years amongst Indian families, and we should be grateful to Narendra Mehta for introducing this Indian secret to the rest of the world.

Find an accredited massage therapist near you and watch your troubles and pains fade away.

References

  1. https://www.centreofexcellence.com/7-things-about-indian-head-massage/
  2. https://www.leaf.tv/articles/the-history-origins-traditions-of-indian-head-massaging/
  3. https://liberitherapies.co.uk/what-is-indian-head-massage/

Biofeedback – Mixing Technology With Alternative Healing

In the last century, and especially in the last few decades alone, there has been a constant flow of medical and scientific discoveries being made. When paired with the mind-boggling technological advancements taking place, we end up with significant developments in regards to creating groundbreaking and innovative treatments.

One such development is biofeedback, a process created by mixing technology with alternative healing methodologies.

What Is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a process whereby electronic monitoring of a normally automatic bodily function is used to train someone to acquire voluntary control of that function.

Those who practice alternative healing techniques believe that “energy” based practices can produce the same results as medication can.

In the case of biofeedback, the idea is that receiving specific pieces of information about your bodily functions can, in time, help you make the necessary changes in your physical and mental behaviour required to adjust and control these functions. This method focuses highly on the belief in the power of the connection between the mind and the body’s physical state.

Essentially, it is an approach to learning how to control functions that your bodily typically carries out on it’s own, such as heart rate, muscle tension, blood pressure, etc. by first practicing various mental activities and relaxation techniques to regulate these functions while being monitored.

How Does It Work?

Biofeedback works through a variety of electrical sensors placed on one’s body that are hooked up to monitors that display feedback on how one’s body is responding to different stimuli.

The purpose of these sensors is to measure how that individual’s body reacts to stress. This does not necessarily mean how one’s body reacts when they are stressed, but rather the physical stress their body may experience due to other illnesses or conditions.

A biofeedback therapist will suggest certain exercises and relaxation techniques for the individual to try based on the problem being addressed. This may include breathing techniques, meditation, or a variety of muscle tightening and loosening exercises.

The therapist will then observe how these exercise are affecting the individual’s monitor readings and can tweak the exercises, or try new ones, until they begin seeing the desired change in the body’s responses.

There are multiple specialized forms of biofeedback currently in practice; each form uses a different type of sensor, reads different responses, and is helpful in treating different issues.

The three most popular types of biofeedback are neurofeedback, muscle tension feedback, and thermal feedback.

Types of Biofeedback 
  • Neuro Feedback

This method uses sensors placed on one’s scalp to monitor brain waves using an electroencephalograph (EEG).

Most commonly, this method is used to treat ADHD symptoms, but can also be useful when treating a range of brain-related conditions, such as: addiction, anxiety, autism, depression, Schizophrenia, epilepsy, insomnia, etc.

  • Respiratory Feedback

This method involves sensor bands being placed around one’s abdomen and chest in order to monitor the individuals breathing patterns and respiration rate.

This type of feedback has been the most successful when treating issues such as panic disorders and asthma, as well as promoting better general heart health due to better breathing habits.

  •  Heart Rate Feedback

During a heart rate biofeedback session, finger and/or earlobe sensors with a device called a photoplethysmograph, or chest/torso/or wrist sensors using an electrocardiograph (ECG) are used to measure one’s heart rate and heart rate variability.

Blood pressure control and stress/anxiety reduction are two of the most common issues addressed using this type of biofeedback, but it has also been successfully used for other purposes, such as improving athletic performance.

  • Muscle Tension Feedback

This technique involves placing sensors over one’s skeletal muscles (the muscles that produce all of the movements of body parts in relation to one another through voluntary movements) and using an electromyograph (EMG) to monitor the electrical activity that causes muscle contraction.

This method is commonly used to treat conditions such as epilepsy, movement disorders (such as Parkinson’s), migraines, arthritis, or stress, and is even used to help patients during surgical recuperation. 

  • Sweat Gland Feedback

This type of biofeedback uses an electrodermograph (EDG), with sensors attached to one’s fingers, palms, or wrists, to measure the activity of the individual’s sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on their skin.

Sweat gland feedback is most useful when treating conditions such as anxiety or stress.

  • Thermal Feedback

During thermal biofeedback, sensors are attached to fingers or feet and are used to measure the blood flow to their skin.

Temperature often drops when an individual is under stress, meaning this is a good method to use in order to practice certain relaxation techniques.

Devices Used

As mentioned earlier, the devices used during biofeedback are typically a combination of sensors that are either attached to the individual or worn by the individual and the monitors that display the information gathered by these sensors.

The sensors most commonly used are the ones placed on one’s finger, scalp, or muscles, or the bands worn around one’s chest.

There are also a number of biofeedback devices available for home use. These are portable electronic devices that monitor different aspects of your body’s response system. These devices can help you with relaxation and changing behaviours that cause stress to your body without having to spend time and money on visiting the therapist’s office.

It is important to know, however, that not all home devices available are approved by the FDA. Not only are some of these devices not FDA approved, but many of the devices marketed make false claims of what they are capable of and the results they will provide.

If you are planning on purchasing a home-use biofeedback device, don’t forget to speak with your doctor about it first, and ensure you do the proper research required before choosing which device to buy.

What to Expect

Biofeedback sessions can range in length, typically from 60-90 minutes. The first session is typically a consultation with the therapist; during this consultation the therapist and the patient will discuss the problems that need to be treated, possible exercises and methods that may be used, potential outcomes, etc.

The number of sessions required will vary from patient to patient, with most patients needing an average of at least 10 sessions until they are capable of effectively implementing the control techniques without being monitored. This, however, is highly dependent on the condition being treated and the efficiency with which the patient learns.

During these sessions one can expect to be hooked up to one of the aforementioned types of sensors; the type of sensor used during the sessions is dependent on the condition the patient needs treated, because this dictates which bodily function is being monitored.

These sensors will be hooked up to different types of machines that will, most commonly, either beep or flash while displaying their body’s readings.

While hooked up to these machines, the therapist will have the patient practice a variety of different relaxation techniques or exercises, and will adjust these accordingly based on the changes that they make in the sensors readings.

Results 

Biofeedback does not necessarily work for everyone, and results are not guaranteed. However, if biofeedback therapy does work for you, there are a few results you may see.

First, it can help you learn how to control various symptoms you may be experiencing due to the issue being addressed (whether it be a mental of physical health problem).

Next, it can reduce or eliminate the amount of medication that was previously required to treat aforementioned symptoms.

Note that even if biofeedback is successful for you, it may not negate certain treatments you are currently receiving for the issue at hand.

Why Use Biofeedback?

There are a multitude of reasons why one may choose to try biofeedback therapy.

The main appeal of biofeedback therapy, also commonly referred to as biofeedback training, is that it can be used to help manage a variety of both physical and mental health conditions.

Some of the health conditions this type of therapy is most often used for include: anxiety/stress, asthma, headaches/migraines, various bowel problems, high blood pressure, and motion sickness.

While biofeedback therapy may not fully cure these conditions, it can help with relaxation, reduce symptoms caused by the conditions, and can even help in reducing the amount of medication needed to combat those symptoms.

Not only are the results of biofeedback desirable, but this type of therapy is attractive for a number of other reasons.

One of the largest draws to this type of treatment is that it is totally non-invasive. It does not require any surgeries, injections, etc.

It is also a great option for those who need alternatives to medications that haven’t worked, medications they cannot take, or those who simply do not want to be taking medications for one reason or another.

If biofeedback therapy is successful, it can give one the feeling of taking charge of their health. Feeling in control of your body can work wonders in terms of relieving stress and anxiety.

Giving It A Try

Biofeedback therapy is an amazing blend of technological advancement and alternative healing that has made waves in the medical world.

While monitoring and displaying your body’s various functions through sensors, you can learn to control these otherwise involuntary functions through a series of exercises by adjusting your exercises based on how your body is reacting to them.

Learning to control different bodily functions can have many positive impacts on your health. It can reduce stress, anxiety, aches and pains, and can even reduce symptoms of various mental and physical health issues you may be facing.

Biofeedback is a great option for anyone wanting to address these issues in an alternative, non-invasive, medicine-free way.

If successful, biofeedback therapy can reduce the amount of medications you need to treat the health issues you are targeting, and can give you a better sense of control over your body.

If biofeedback therapy is something that interests you, talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor can help you understand if and how this type of treatment can work for you, can refer to you a therapist, or can give you advice on the different home-use biofeedback devices available on the market.

There are very little risks involved with biofeedback therapy, so if it seems like something that can help with an issue you are facing, there is little reason not to give it a try.

References

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/biofeedback/about/pac-20384664
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/biofeedback#purpose-and-uses
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