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Positive Impacts Of Playing Games On Your Mental Health

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
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on Friday, 30 October 2015
in Health Blogs

More than one billion people worldwide spend at least one hour playing computer games, but is this a good or bad thing? Jane McGonigal, a successful game designer and passionate author thinks it is a good thing and she talked about it at the Nantucked Project Saturday.

Her talk gave us some insight into the world of playing games and the impacts it has on our mind and body. She also presented some interesting statistics like the fact that we spend almost 1.8 billion minutes playing the addictive facebook game Candy Crush in just one day! It may sound much and there are people who play it too much for sure, but if we play games in moderation we can actually benefit from the positive consequences which are the neurological opposite of depression.

Brain scans have shown that the most active parts of the brain during playing games are the rewards pathway system and the hippocampus. For instance, these parts of the brain are not active when we are in a bad mood, stressed and depressed. McGonigal also shared an interesting personal story. When she suffered a traumatic brain injury, she created her own game called "Jane the Concussion Slayer", to help her heal herself. That's why she has a different point of view on playing games.

A study from the East Carolina University's Psychophysiology lab measured the real effectivity of playing games for the reduction of depression and anxiety. They had 2 groups of people to different things for 30 minutes each day. One group had to read the website of the National Institute of Mental Health and the other group played the online flash games Happy Wheels, Bejeweled and Angry Birds. After that, they measured psychological and physiological responses in both groups. The results showed that the casual playing of video games decreased depression and anxiety for 57%.

Many other studies showed similar results and one thing is for sure, the casual playing of fun and relaxing games from time to time can us help relax and get in a better mood which will lead to positive effects on the overall health. Next time you feel stressed, try playing some of the famous online games like Happy Wheels, Bejeweled, Candy Crush and many others to relax a bit and get your mind of of things. This is definitely better than reaching out to alcohol, cigarettes or other unhealthy sources people use to temporary relax and deal with stress.  

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Treating Different Medical Conditions with Massage Therapy

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake has not set their biography yet
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on Friday, 27 February 2015
in Health Blogs

Many studies have pointed out the health benefits that come with a good massage. But as you may have noted, there are many types of massage therapies that are offered on the service menu, all treating different kinds of health conditions. Let us break it down to various medical conditions and the appropriate massage techniques that they heal respectively.

Lower Back Pain- Neuromuscular Therapy

People suffering from chronic lower back pain can find enduring results by having a good massage by professional therapist. According to research conducted by the Center for Health Studies and A Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, it was determined that specific components of neuromuscular massage therapy contribute a bigger percentage to easing lower back pain. What’s more, a study that was published in the Annal of Internal Medicine proved the idea that this therapy offers better results than other medical treatments such as spinal modification.

Muscle Pain/Soreness- Trigger Point Massage

This type of massage focuses on specific areas or muscles of the body, and works to relieve muscle pain and soreness. In this technique the exact problem is identified and the therapist coaxes it with deep pressure to make it relax. According to WebMD, a trigger point is basically a tight area within muscles that may cause pain in a part of the body. This technique releases the constricted areas thus alleviating the pain with just a single treatment.

Stiffness- Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage focuses on applying pressure onto specific muscle points, but unlike trigger point massage, it feels more like one is pushing into all your knotted muscles, leaving you feeling sore. According to Moyer Wellness, therapists use ankles and elbows to relive stiffness on muscle tissue. This type of massage is ideal for athletes as well as those looking for physical therapy to help them in breaking down process of scar tissue. 

Premature Ejaculation - Tantric Massage

PE is a condition affecting males of all ages. It tends to occur due to lack of neurological response to the pelvic muscles, or physiological complications. Tantric massage has been proven to offer good results when it comes to getting rid of PE. According to studies, this therapy focuses on relaxing muscles surrounding the perineum and lingam, and calming the nerves. It is recommended that one completes several sessions to maximize the results.

Anxiety- Shiatsu Massage

A research conducted by University of Miami School of Medicine showed that cortisol, a stress hormone, was reduced significantly after participants had Shiatsu massage. This technique originated from Japan and involves applying finger pressure to different areas of the body. The idea is basically to fix imbalances of energy flow. This massage can also help you in treating ailments such as back pain and headache.

According to various studies, there’s really no doubt what massage therapy can offer people, when it comes to their health and well-being. Different types of massage can help treat medical conditions such as anxiety, PE, stiffness, muscle pain, and lower back pain. If you are looking to relax your muscles and stay stress-free, then it would be wise you consider having various types of massage from time to time.

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Taking Care of Your Health and Wellbeing - Massage Therapy

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake has not set their biography yet
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on Wednesday, 24 December 2014
in Health Blogs

Massage therapy has been practiced for thousands of years, and today you will be able to choose from over 80 different styles and forms of treatment. Each form of massage implements a variety of different movements, techniques and pressures which includes rubbing, pressing and manipulating muscles with the fingers and hands. The 2007 American Massage Therapy Association reported that almost one quarter of American adults attended massage therapy sessions in 2006, perhaps for many different reasons. More people are beginning to realize the great health benefits of a massage, and many of them are using massage to heal injuries, medical conditions and promote overall health. 

Styles of Massage Therapy

Swedish Massage
This is the most common form of massage therapy and it involves long, soft strokes along with rhythmic, light tapping strokes on the top layer of muscles. When combined with joint movement, this treatment will relieve muscle tension, energize the patient and even reduce pain after an injury. Swedish massage therapy implements four main massage techniques, which are effleurage, petrissage, friction and tapotement.

Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage will give attention to specific, painful areas of your body. The therapist will use slow, deliberate movements while applying pressure on muscle layers, tendons and other deep tissues. This form of massage will relieve chronic pains and tensions while alleviating muscle injuries and back pains. 

Thai Massage
This form of massage implements a variety of different techniques, and the therapist will use their body to move the patient into a number of therapeutic positions. It is great for compressing muscles, improving joint mobilization and applying acupressure. 

Tantric Massage
This popular form of massage uses inner energies to bring patients to higher levels of consciousness. A professional tantric massage therapist uses sensual and light touches to awaken dormant energies throughout the body. A tantric massage will help improve your sense of well being while decreasing symptoms of depression and promoting happiness. This is perhaps the most relaxing form of treatment.


Hot Stone Massage
During this relaxing massage, a therapist will place warm stones on different bodily areas, such as pressure points. The stones are used with a variety of massage techniques, and they can be soothing and relaxing while directing heat deep into the body.

Pregnancy Massage
A pregnancy massage will help women who are experiencing significant bodily changes as a result of pregnancy. It decreases stress levels, swelling in limbs and alleviates muscle pain. The therapist uses therapeutic pillows to make the patient comfortable, and then implements a variety of techniques to provide relief during a time when certain medications may be limited.



Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

Back Pains
Many studies have shown the effectiveness of massage therapy for back pains. In fact, a 2003 study discovered that a massage works significantly better than acupuncture or spinal exercises for chronic back pain, and massage reduces the need for prescription drugs by 36%.

Headaches
Massage therapy relaxes the entire body and provides relief from migraines while improving sleep. Studies have proven that massage can reduce the tension of headaches.

Osteoarthritis 
Practitioners have studied the effectiveness of massage on osteoarthritis, and patients experienced a great improvement in control, stiffness and pain after receiving Swedish massage therapy twice a week.

Cancer
While cancer is not curable, massage therapy can help promote relaxation and even reduce side effects from cancer treatment. It can also help reduce depression, pain, swelling and nausea while improving the immune system.

Anxiety
Over 12 twelve studies have shown that massage relieves anxiety and depression symptoms. It can help lower cortisol levels by 50% while increasing the levels of neurotransmitters that diminish depression. A study conducted in 1996 by Shulman, K.R. & Jones, G.E. reported that massage is beneficial to people suffering from depression.

A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago also reported that massage therapy improves blood flow and circulation, and massage is a great choice for people who do not exercise regularly. 

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Learn more about the different types of massage

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 30 September 2014
in Health Blogs

A properly done massage can be of great benefit to you especially in rejuvenating your body. Massages have many proven health benefits including lowering blood pressure and pain management. Additionally, they can help relax the nerves and improve intimacy between partners. There are different types of massage techniques which utilize different styles based on your preference. Massage therapy has been used since ancient times to treat different health conditions and promote overall wellness. You can choose from over 80 different massage styles based on what you want to achieve. Below are 5 of the most popular techniques and their benefits:

1. Swedish massage

This is one of the most popular massage techniques today. It involves the use of long, flowing strokes which are done on the back heading towards the heart direction. A masseuse will also use kneading strokes and deep circular movements to bring a deep feeling of relaxation. Swedish massage has been used as a complementary form of medicine and helps improve health and bring pleasure.

Benefits of Swedish massage:  The massage helps improve blood circulation, reduce stress and pain management for athletes and people with arthritis among others. According to numerous research statistics by Dr. Tiffany Field, a director of TRI in University of Miami, massage not only helps you feel good but also changes your whole physiology thus making it effective medicinally.

2. Reflexology

This is an ancient Chinese massage that targets the hands and feet. Its premise is that there is a connection between these two points and internal organs and pressure is applied on the two to help release any blockage that results in organ distress. The massage is also intended to help improve energy flow between the two points and internal organs. At some point, a therapist will use special tools to help apply pressure more strongly and this could be painful especially in the beginning.

Benefits of reflexology: Reflexology massage helps remove any blockage thus enhancing toxin release from the body. It also helps in pain management, increases blood flow, helps in post-operation recovery and creates relaxation. Studies by National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute have shown that reflexology helps in cancer palliation and also helps reduce psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

3. Tantric massage

Tantric massage has tremendously grown in popularity. It is suitable for people (especially couples) who intend to reawaken their senses. The whole body massage encourages physical and emotional healing and includes moving a gentle movement of fingertips across the back to help stimulate a sense of intimacy.According to Hong Kong massage specialists, this massage can help open up the deepest sensory excitement helping the body reach the crescendo of relaxation.

Benefits of tantric massage: The massage can help eliminate stress in the body, build a sense of intimacy, deepen relaxation, release tension, improve mental clarity and balance energy among other things. According to research conducted at Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital, London, Tantric massage was found to provide holistic effects to over 107 participants.

4. Thai massage

This massage involves yoga-like stretches. Your therapist will pull different parts of your body in different directions to help relax joints and muscles. This includes pulling the ears, toes, fingers, walking on your back and cracking your knuckles.

Benefits of Thai massage: It helps manage cases of muscle ache, loosen joints, improve flexibility and enhance energy levels in the body. Thai massage is suitable for overall wellbeing.

5. Deep tissue massage

This massage targets the fascia and deep layers of body muscles. During the massage, a therapist will use deep finger pressure together with slow but firm strokes to exert pressure on the target parts of the body. It is normally used as an alternative treatment for different physical ailments and is normally considered to be very effective.

Benefits of deep tissue massage:  Helps relieve tension from the deeper muscle layers, relieve stress caused by injuries, repetitive motions and misalignment. It is used to effectively release toxins from the body, improve blood circulation and relieve emotional stress.

Although there many different types of massage techniques, it is good to know that, they do not have equal benefits and therefore you should choose the style that best suits your needs. You should communicate with your therapist before the massage sessions to see which specific style will give you the desired benefits

Tags: massage, therapy
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Sports Massage - Is it only for athletes?

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 19 August 2014
in Health Blogs

Sports massage is a technique that is used to stretch the connective tissues and the muscles of the body aimed at enhancing performance. It differs from a Swedish massage in that it is a deeper form of massage. The Sports Massage therapist can effectively locates numerous areas of tension whether it is a sporting injury or tension caused by other physical activities such as lifting loads or gardening (McGillicudy, 2011).

For high-end athletes, sports massage is part of the regimen in which athletes use to keep in good shape. It reduces soreness and keeps the muscles and tendons strong and flexible. Among the athletes, it prepares for optimal performance, maximize training results, and promotes quick recovery after an event. The The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) research concluded that sports massage prevents injury when massage is received regularly.

There has been a long held assumption that Sports Massage is only for athletes. This is not the case despite the suggestion of the name. According to Ylinen and Cash (2011), sports therapy has made drastic advances in recent years and is no longer the preserve of the professional athletes. Having said that, sports massage is not only for athletes. It has its benefits for recreational enthusiasts as well. It is for everyone with pain, general aches, and tension.

Four main forms of sports massage

Sports massage takes four main forms. To start with, pe-event sports massage is directed towards the partthat will be of most use during an exercise. Second, a post-event sports massage is administered just before an event. Third, a restorative sports massage is given to decrease the rate of injury. Lastly, a rehabilitative sport massage is of most use in reducing and eliminating painas a result of an injury and alsobringing the body back toits health. Sports massage is highly recommended if one one has a specific problem for example a tender knee as a result of running. In such a case, a movement therapist will be of much help in the identification of the problem area and rectifying any abnormality that pertains to movement. In addition, the therapist point of focus is the problem area as an alternative to a full body massage. This problem area may include a pulled hamstring or a frozen shoulder.

Sports Massage is not only used when one faces an injury. It can also be applied in addition to a physical activity routine. In such a case, there is less frequency of injury, increased flexibility, improved performance, enhanced body awareness, and a state of mental and physical relaxation. According to massage therapists from Hong Kong, it stimulates circulation, relieves pain, relaxes muscle spasm, increases lymph flow, and breaks up fibrosis that binds the muscles together.

Conclusion

In conclusion, physiotherapists, doctors, coaches, and trainers should create an awareness that sports massage is of benefit to both the athletes and non-athletes. One does not have to be a sports person to benefit from a sports massage. Overall, it is a great and effective way of eliminating general aches and pains for both athletes and non-athletes.

References:

- McGillicuddy, M. (2011). Massage for sports performance. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
- Ylinen & Cash, (2011). Sports massage. London: Routledge.

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