Friday, August 22, 2014

Depression & Anxiety: The Benefits of Massage Therapy

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health concerns facing society. Both share similarities with one of the main differences being that a depressed person generally experiences low energy while anxiety produces high energy. Depression brings on  feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair. A person loses enthusiasm for activities that normally would bring him or her pleasure, and often feels overwhelmed by simple day-to-day tasks and even in maintaining relationships. Symptoms may range from sleep disorders to thoughts of death or suicide. Statistics report that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will suffer from depression at some point in their life. Almost 1.5 million Canadians fall victim to serious bouts of depression at any given time.

People may become depressed for a variety of reasons. While it frequently is related to a chemical imbalance in the brain, depression can also be seasonal (the winter blues) or situational: a life trauma one might experience, such as losing a job, domestic disturbances, or dealing with the death of a friend or loved one.

A person troubled with anxiety, on the other hand, experiences fear, panic or anxiousness in situations which normally would not warrant such a response, such as a simple trip to the corner store. The sufferer may experience sudden panic or anxiety attacks without any specific trigger and often lives in a state of constant fear or anxiousness. Extreme nervousness, rapid heartbeat and sweating are the most common symptoms.

Many people experience periods of anxiety as a reaction to stress and as such should not cause undue alarm. However, when episodes of anxiety become frequent, intense, and debilitating, leading to disruptions in one's lifestyle, where it becomes difficult even to leave one's home, it usually is classified as an anxiety disorder.

Psychological counselling and medications are most often prescribed for severe episodes, but alternative procedures have also been shown to provide excellent results.

Massage therapy has become recognized as an effective treatment for people suffering from mood disorders. Besides alleviating physical discomforts associated with depression and acute anxiety, massage also aids in combating symptoms of fatigue and assists in promoting sleep.

The professionals at Academy Massage are qualified to provide a program to a person coping with depression or anxiety to keep their body healthy as well as to help encourage and maintain an emotional balance. Academy's massage therapists are skilled and practiced in techniques that can help a person overcome those feelings of despair or panic. One of the benefits of massage therapy is its ability to enhance feelings of well-being. This is because massage releases both serotonin and endorphins that, working in conjunction, produce a calming and stabilizing effect, releasing tension and promoting relaxation.

However, Academy Massage strongly recommends if you are severely depressed or are having thoughts of suicide that you seek professional help prior to beginning massage treatments. For those who have situational depression or are dealing with stress and anxiety, massage therapy can be the proper treatment to keep your body and your mind at ease.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Neck Pain and Massage Therapy

Neck pain is one of the most common yet in some cases one of the most debilitating ailments affecting a large segment of the population. The soreness may be located in the neck, the upper back, the side of the face, the chest, shoulder, arm, and may radiate down to the hand.  A person suffering from chronic neck pain may find his or her quality of daily life compromised if the problem is not addressed and properly treated. While everyone experiences the occasional stiff neck associated with something so basic as poor head-to-pillow positioning and generally while the stiffness and/or soreness will subside, there are situations when the problem might be more severe, with symptoms ranging from tenderness to a muscle tightness to extreme pain resulting from even the simplest movement of the head. In addition, the sufferer may experience headaches (including migraines), jaw pain or muscle spasms. The muscles of the neck, extending from the base of the skull to the upper shoulders, are known as the scalene muscle group and are a complex and delicate network vulnerable to injury and disease. There can be many causes for neck pain, ranging from trauma (including whiplash) to poor posture, stress or osteoporosis. Even everyday simple repetitive activities such as overuse at the computer or excessive sitting can put undo strain on the muscles of the neck. The good news is that massage therapy can help by not only reducing the pain but has also been shown to also prevent a recurrence of the problem.

While a person suffering from acute neck pain is likely to consult a physician, the usual prescription is to treat the problem with anti-inflammatory or pain medications. (In extreme cases surgery may be recommended). While effective on a temporary basis to relieve the pain and discomfort, pills merely alleviate the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause and therefore medication is not necessarily the best option for dealing with persistent pain. Academy Massage offers a drug-free alternative that focuses on the inflamed or irritated trigger points, or muscle knots, most often associated with neck pain.

Because of the delicacy and complexity of this nerve system, only a qualified therapist should be permitted to manipulate these trigger points. Academy Massage's licensed practitioners are trained in the correct procedures to offer the safest, most effective and long-lasting treatment for neck pain. Employing varying massage techniques our therapists pinpoint the location of the trouble spot to directly treat the discomfort. Massage therapy decreases pain and increases range of motion in the neck and shoulders by lengthening and softening muscles that have spasms. Releasing spasms in the muscles eases pressure on nerves in the neck and shoulders along with balancing the muscle. In addition, a properly performed neck massage will not only help to relax the muscles but also increases the circulation of blood to the upper back, increasing oxygen and nutrient flow and thereby providing a natural cure for pain.

Academy Massage recommends that if you suffer from neck pain you should get a massage on a regular basis. This will help keep the neck muscles loose and minimize the chance of a future injury.

There is no reason why your active lifestyle should be halted by a pain in the neck!