Articles from November 2007

Massage

Getting a massage from a professional, licensed massage therapist (not just having your husband rub your back for a few minutes) is more than just an indulgence.  In fact, massage should be seen as a component of your overall fitness.  There’s more to massage therapy than just pampering and relaxation. Massage can also be beneficial for those who have undergone heart bypass surgery (aids recovery, reduces pain and swelling, and aids in circulation) and may improve the function of the immune system by helping the body rid itself of toxins.

According to the American Association of Massage Therapists, massage therapy can effectively treat many health concerns, including back pain.  Massage treatment for back pain has been so effective, according to research, that it can actually reduce the sufferer’s reliance on medication and other more invasive medical treatments.

Massage is also very helpful for breast cancer survivors, both before and after surgery.  Not only is it therapeutic for helping breast cancer survivors deal with the traumatic emotional effects of breast cancer, but specially trained massage therapists can perform special massages that help drain lymph nodes and keep swelling and other painful symptoms.

There are several different kinds of massage techniques, depending on your health needs.  Swedish massage uses long, gentle strokes and kneading mostly for relaxation and stress relief.  Deep tissue massage uses much stronger pressure to help aid in the recovery from injury or to relieve chronic pain. Sport massages target specific areas of the body to keep the muscles loose and flexible to help prevent injury.  Reflexology massages are massages specifically focused on the hands and feet.

Massage can be an indulgence, yes, but it can be so much more than that.  Massage can help increase circulation, improve your posture, relieve tension headaches, and even lower blood pressure. Just try getting a massage and see how much lower your blood pressure is!

We women often put ourselves last on the list of priorities, and massage may be something you would not dream of indulging in, because of time or money.  If you are worried about time, schedule just 30 minutes – a lunch hour – for a massage.  If you are worried about money, ask for a gift certificate for a massage for your birthday or Mother’s Day.  Once you’ve experienced the benefits massage offers, you’ll find a way to make it a regular part of your health and fitness routine.

Relaxation technique meditation

Meditation is a form of biofeedback that allows you to use your own mind in order to consciously relax your body and let go of mental stress.  Meditation can be a useful tool in improving your health, your well-being, and your mental fitness.

meditation 150x150 Relaxation technique meditationReduced stress can also have a positive impact on your physical health and your weight.  Especially in the fast-paced world we live in, there is little time to relax and unwind.  Meditation can help us get there faster and with better results.

Meditation is not intimidating or difficult; in fact, without even realizing it, you probably use certain conscious relaxation techniques.  If you’ve ever faced a big test or stressful moment at work, or perhaps you’ve been sitting in the dentist’s chair waiting for the sound of the drill, you start doing things to help yourself stay calm.

You might try taking deep breaths or massage or wring your hands; when you choose to make meditation a part of your every day life, you will find relaxation a much easier place to get to even when you’re not facing dental work.

Meditation is a lifestyle change, not just an exercise. It requires commitment from you and dedication to practice meditation each day.  There is no right way to meditate; do what works best for you.  The only thing you will really need is 15 minutes of uninterrupted time in which to practice.

The practice of meditation is the practice of emptying your mind of its clutter.  Stop thinking about work, school, children, the fight you had with your husband, your annoying neighbor, this month’s bills…clear your mind.  It won’t be easy in the beginning, but even just taking that 15 minutes to try will help you.

Eventually, you will find methods that work for you.  Lighting candles, playing soft music, burning incense may all help trigger your ability to relax.  Eventually, you may literally feel the world’s worries slip from your shoulders.  You may find that you can get to state where the world around you can happen, but you don’t notice it.  You may even fall asleep.

At the very least, however, what you will experience is a few minutes in which you are focused on you.  No outside worries or responsibilities, just an influx of positive energy that refreshes you and makes it possible for you to go back out and keep conquering the world.