Stiff neck? Tight quads? Nagging muscle or joint pain? We’ve got you covered! Come on down to our student clinic for some Moist Heat Therapy followed by a therapeutic massage performed by one of our students. We teach our students how to use Hydrocollator Packs in their massage sessions. For centuries, the ability of heat to increase blood flow and ease the sensation of pain has had an important role in supporting the healing process. It’s a way to increase flexibility and range of motion, as well as to promote increased circulation and to prepare the tissues for rehabilitation.
Hydrocollator Packs are a combination of bentonite clay and other natural filling. These bentonite clay packs applied externally are used to alleviate inflammatory pain, joint pain, arthritis, congestion, bruised tissue, and strains. They prepare tense areas for deep tissue, reduce muscle spasm, and are very therapeutic following muscle soreness from physical activity. Hydrocollator packs are more effective for treating pain than electrical pads because moist heat relaxes muscles and nerves without drawing up moisture from the skin, so the affected area stays hydrated – this is important for a faster healing process. Hydrocollator packs increase blood flow by enlarging blood vessels below the surface relaxing the tissue, decreasing pain, and stimulating the healing process. Increasing circulation and relaxing muscles is not only helpful before a massage, it’s also very beneficial before chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, and therapeutic exercises as well. Athletes with chronic pain or overuse injuries may use this heat therapy before exercise to increase the elasticity of joint connective tissues and to stimulate blood flow.
Because heat increases circulation and raises skin temperature, you should not apply it to acute injuries or injuries that show signs of inflammation. To be beneficial, heat should not be applied until the capillaries have had a chance to seal and stop leaking, usually 48 hours following an injury. In order to safely apply heat, first wrap the pack in 3 towels before applying it to the body for 15-20 minutes at a time – this protects the body from overheating and from any irritation that can occur. As yummy as heat can be, be sure not to apply it after exercise or on an acute injury as it could worsen the symptoms. Heat therapy is an easy and inexpensive option to provide relief from many forms of pain – combined with massage it’s an absolute life saver!!
Pin and stretch is a deep tissue massage and stretching technique that is highly effective at treating problems with muscle, tendon, ligament and fascia. We teach this technique often throughout our massage course, as part of our Deep Tissue massage classes and in our Stretching and Thai Yoga Massage classes. We find this technique greatly beneficial and therapeutic for clients. With Pin & Stretch, specific areas are identified in muscles and tendons where overuse has caused repetitive injury and scar tissue has built up. Pin and stretch is a method of stretching involving shortening the muscle length by pinning the muscle, then taking the muscle through the full range of motion.
The stretch can be applied passively by the therapist or actively by the client. The therapist uses their hand (or other body part such as an elbow or forearm) to manually place a “pin” into the belly of the muscle and then moves one of the muscle’s attachments away from that pinned point. The pin acts to stop the stretch force from spreading to the rest of the muscle beyond the pin point. Therefore, with the pin and stretch technique, the force of the stretch will be concentrated to the region of the muscle that is between the pinned point and the attachment that is moved. Moving the muscle through the full range of motion while in a shortened state increases stretch of the muscle and restores proper muscle length. After the massage, nerve conduction will improve as well as blood and lymph flow throughout the body to speed up the rate of healing and improve performance.
Quick tips on how to perform Pin and Stretch:
- Pin the target muscle using finger, palm pressure, or elbow pressure.
- Apply stretch to the muscle.
Pin & Stretch works most effectively on the more distal aspect of a muscle attachment. Pin & Stretch is an amazing technique to use on the Piriformis muscle, neck and upper back muscles, and arm flexor muscles, just to name a few of our favorites!
Thai and Swedish massage styles, though different in origin, have similar health benefits. Each massage modality can lower your heart rate, increase range of motion, relax your muscles, improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
Partially due to popularity in the United States, the word massage has became synonymous with Swedish massage. This massage style was developed in 1812 at the University of Stockholm through the dissection cadavers.
Swedish massage incorporates five major types of techniques: effleurage (gliding movements), petrissage (kneading movements), tapotement (gentle drumming or pounding movements), vibration, and friction.
Thai massage has been taught and practiced in Thailand for more than thousand years. The principles of Thai massage are based on the body’s energy paths. It is believed that disease is the results of blocked energy pathways associated with spiritual beliefs.
While Thai massage does include similar techniques as Swedish massage, it also embraces rigorous yoga-like stretches. In Thai massage the entire body is pushed, pressed, rocked, vibrated and rhythmically compressed by the therapist’s body—hands, feet, elbows, knees, forearms and shins. At times, the therapist can stand and sit on the client while realigning them to either internal or external alignments.
Despite the techniques, there are no significant differences in psychological or physiological reactions between Thai and Swedish massages. Both styles can lower the resting heart rate, relax muscles and relieve back pain. The inclusion of stretching in Thai massages may increase the range of motion more than Swedish massage. Both styles are beneficial to health and are known to reduce anxiety as well as to improve moods.
When receiving Thai massage you will be wearing comfortable clothes and laying on a padded mat on the floor.
Swedish massage is typically done on a massage table, with the recipient dressed down and covered with drapes.
If you would like to schedule a massage that is an infusion of Swedish and Thai massage, book an appointment at our school’s massage clinic.
We offer discounted massage appointments either for a 60 or 90 minute massage.
We are located in central Denver with easy access from I-25 and Speer Blvd.
For more information about massage at our student clinic click here.
Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability, reduced quality of life, and high health care costs in the U.S. If you suffer from arthritis, there is good news – massage has been shown to help reduce pain and increase mobility in those who have arthritis.
Some of the best massages for arthritis pain include:
Long strokes, circular movements, and various pressures get blood circulation to the muscles to improve stiffness and reduce pain.
Specific spots are massaged to relieve pain elsewhere in the body; this type of massage will depend on what type of pain you are having and where.
This detox massage with light pressure is great for people with arthritis, as it helps promote drainage of excess fluid due to the inflammatory process that’s been occurring.
Recently, more research has been conducted examining the effects of regular massage therapy on those who suffer from arthritis.
According to Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, regular massage (either self-massage at home or by a licensed therapist) can lead to a significant reduction in pain for people with arthritis. Regular massage led to improvement in pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength, and overall function of joints. Based on her study of 22 adults with hand or wrist arthritis who were given 15 minute massages four days a week, regular massage led to reduced pain and anxiety, and increased grip strength.
A study conducted at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey examined 68 adults with knee osteoarthritis receiving two Swedish massages per week for eight weeks (compared to a group who received no massage). The massage group reported significant improvements in knee pain, stiffness, function, range of motion, and walking.
The most important thing to remember when seeking massage for arthritis is that the massage should make your arthritis pain and stiffness feel better, not worse. If it hurts, don’t do it. Always consult your doctor before booking massage for arthritis pain.
If peppermint oil isn’t already an essential part of your medicine cabinet, it should be! It can be used to relieve nausea and stomach issues, energize and refresh you when you are feeling fatigued, cool overworked muscles, clear congestion, soothe headaches, and freshen your breath. As it is more concentrated that most essential oils, always remember to dilute with carrier oil before use.
The health benefits of peppermint oil include:
- Massage several drops on your stomach, place a drop on wrists or inhale to soothe motion sickness or general nausea.
- Drinking mint tea has traditionally been the way to soothe an upset stomach.
- Massage 2-3 drops onto chest or drop into a humidifier to help clear sinus and lung congestion.
- If your head is feeling stuffed or you can’t stop coughing, try steaming with peppermint oil. Pour boiling water into a metal or glass bowl, and add a few drops of essential oil. Drape a towel over your head and position your face 10-12 inches above the bowl and breathe in the steam.
- The combination of peppermint, lavender and geranium essential oils added to a warm bath help relieve stiffness and relax your muscles.
- Put peppermint oil in a diffuser to keep your mind at peace (and relieve headaches).
- Rub a drop of oil under you nose to help improve concentration and alertness.
- Diffuse peppermint oil in the room to improve concentration.
- Apply to the back of the neck and shoulders repeatedly to keep energy levels up during the day.
- Inhale before and during a workout to help boost your mood and reduce fatigue.
Peppermint oil can also be used to treat itchy bug bites, dandruff, aching muscles and feet, and even ant infestations!
One of the best ways to use peppermint oil to calm down and relax is through scalp massage. If you are suffering from an itchy scalp, bruising, tightness, or inflammation, a peppermint oil scalp massage should be your first step toward relief.
Keep in mind that peppermint oil is much more concentrated that most other essential oils. A small amount is more than enough for your scalp; 3-5 drops daily is enough to receive all the benefits without further irritating your scalp. Of course, so few drops will not be enough to cover your scalp, and should therefore be diluted with a carrier oil of your choice. It is recommended to use at least 1 teaspoon oil per 3-5 drops peppermint oil. If you have sensitive skin, skip the peppermint!
Massage therapy has seen an incredible growth in recent years as a treatment for a wide variety of physical and mental health and wellness conditions. While Swedish and deep tissue massage are the most common styles, some places offer lesser-known styles that might seem a bit unusual to those of us who are familiar with the basics. Fire and water massage are two of the more unique types of wellness treatments available around the globe.
Otherwise known as Chinese fire massage, this is a spa treatment from China that can be a teeth-clenching idea for many people. Although the specifics may vary, Chinese fire massage usually involves placing a cloth soaked in alcohol and a “special elixir” over the face, back, legs, belly or other problem area. The cloth is lit on fire and allowed to burn for up to a minute before the therapist smothers the flames with a wet towel. The wet towel may then be used to massage the heated area.
Fire massage is claimed to:
- Eliminate wrinkles
- Relieve joint pain
- Ease insomnia
- Aid digestion
- Curb obesity
- Cure a cold
- Improve conditions that are categorized by Chinese Medicine as cold in temperature
It may be effective, but fire massage’s safety and efficacy have yet to be scientifically documented in a peer-reviewed journal.
Water massage is a soothing type of massage that takes place in warm, waist-deep water. Warm water, such as in hot springs or soaking pools, is often associated with relaxation; therefore, adding stretches and massage techniques while incorporating water provides the ultimate relaxation.
A typical water massage session takes place in water that is 92 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit, with both the practitioner and the recipient wearing bathing suits. The practitioner performs a series of gentle rocking movements with one hand while the client is secured with the other. In addition to being rocked, clients are also stretched, bent, and arched. Water massage is thought to:
- Reduce muscle tension
- Promote a deep state of relaxation
- Increase mobility and flexibility
- Ease stress
- Reduce pain
- Improve sleep
- Release pent-up emotions