Exhausted to Energized

In the spirit of a new year and all those resolutions and good intentions, and my first blog of 2017, I thought I would give a shout out to Dr Libby Weaver and her book “Exhausted to Energized”.  It is not her latest book (published in 2015), however, it touches on issues I believe are extremely relevant to those of you interested in all things massage, aromatherapy and yoga. Now I have to confess to a giant girl crush on Dr Libby; she is able to explain all the chemical and biological goings-on in the body in an extremely understandable way.  In addition, she highlights the emotional component of hormonal imbalance, illness and weight issues; acknowledging that if this component is not dealt with, then one never gets to the heart of what is causing the issue.  The body and emotions are not separate entities; rather they are interdependent components of the same organism (you).

In “Exhausted to Energized” Dr Libby likens energy to currency, explaining how we are born with a certain amount gifted to us from the joining of our parents at a cellular level and then we will either make deposits or withdrawals into our “energy account” depending on our activities, diet and so on. She warns that too many people do not respect their innate biological needs and survive on little sleep, exercise, fresh air or fresh food, in addition to constant exposure to mental and emotional stress.  This behaviour, of course, does not lead to a consistent, boundless supply of energy; instead many people are dragging themselves out of bed and remain sluggish until they crawl into bed exhausted at night or are “tired but wired”, hopped up on adrenaline then unable to sleep at night.  Compassionately she urges people to view their tiredness and erratic energy levels as the body sending us a message, encouraging us to ask the question about why we feel this way.  We don’t know the answer if the question never gets asks.  

If energy is an issue for you (and I believe it is for many of us), I urge you to read this book.  I am positive you will have at least one “light bulb moment” that will illuminate something that is affecting you on an energetic level. Whether it is dehydration, a nutritional deficiency, a relationship that is draining, poor sleep hygiene or unresolved emotions, there is a chapter for you.  

One of my personal favourites is in the chapter about the adrenal glands and the intimate connection to the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Modern life sees many of us in a constant state of “flight, fright or flight” which engages the sympathetic arm of the ANS – we are ready to run from that tiger and, physiologically speaking, our body indulges us by directing blood and oxygen to our extremities and away from the digestive organs.  That is great from a survival perspective, however, nowadays we are not running from a wild beast and we are not stopping to rest after we have run away from the beast. Oftentimes when people are in this state it is because of their perceptions.  For example driving to work there is heavy traffic and we imagine we are going to be late and we feel panicked, then we can’t find a carpark, more panic ensues.  We reach our desk and open the computer and see a huge number of emails in our inbox and feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume then a client wants a project done in an unrealistic timeframe, producing, even more, overwhelm, By this stage we need a coffee to help us think clearly so we indulge our caffeine habit which also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.  Hell, it’s not even 10am and we have worked ourselves into a frenzy and will quite possibly stay there until we get home and collapse on the couch.  The other branch of the ANS, the parasympathetic nervous system (rest, digest and repair) has not so much had a look in all day, and this is the pattern of many people’s lives, day in, day out.   So instead of moving between the sympathetic branch and parasympathetic branch like gentle waves on a graph, the graph pattern would look more like a giant mountain with a steep crash at the end.  When the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system is not engaged enough and all our energy goes toward survival then we open ourselves up to a host of ailments such as skin complaints, muscular aches and pains, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalance, sleep and mood disturbances.  

If this is ringing some bells for you then Dr Libby offers many practical solutions.  One suggestion she has is so simple it is off the charts ridiculous! As a yoga teacher I love it – diaphragmatic breathing.  Beautiful deep diaphragmatic breathing is safe, free, does not require any fancy equipment and anyone can indulge regardless of age, gender, experience or abilities.  I will quote the good doctor here:  “Breathing is the only way we can consciously affect our ANS… We cannot control our ANS with our thoughts, we cannot instruct it with what to do.  How we breathe is our only road in there.”  For me that it such a profound sentence; in my line of work I often meet people who really beat themselves up for feeling “stressed” and cannot understand why they have a constant feeling of doom in the pit of their stomach or over-react to some daily interaction, or they dismiss the impact that low level but constant stress has on their health because it is “normal”.  How we live is so at odds with what is optimal for us biologically speaking it becomes quite a mammoth task to get this in check, yet a simple thing like breathing deeply and slowly into our belly can allow us to change the pattern on that crazy looking graph to a more modulated, consistent one.  

How we live is so at odds with what is optimal for us biologically speaking it becomes quite a mammoth task to get this in check, yet a simple thing like breathing deeply and slowly into our belly can allow us to change the pattern on that crazy looking graph to a more modulated, consistent one.  

 

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Oil Profile: Angelica

Angelica Archangelica

Scent description: A spicy, long lasting musky aroma. Angelica blends well with citrus oils, patchouli, frankincense and clary sage.

Uses: Angelica can be used in a massage oil to aid digestion or upset stomach. It also relieves coughing. Angelica can be used to calm nervousness and combat depression.

Precautions: Use with caution or avoid altogether during pregnancy. Angelica is a photosensitizing essential oil. Exposure to sunlight within 24 hours after use could cause skin irritation.

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Getting a Massage in Raglan

What to Expect at a Massage Appointment
When you go to have a massage, it is important that you know what to expect. This will help to ensure that the process goes smoothly. It also helps you to choose the best type of massage for you and your health.

Before Your Massage
When you arrive, you will do a quick interview with your massage therapist. They will need to know about things like your general health and where your pain is located. It is also important that you let them know about any medications you take. Once the interview is over, you will be given time to undress and get comfortable on the massage table.

During Your Massage
Your therapist will ensure that you are draped and comfortable before starting the massage. The massage starts with gentle touch and strokes to warm up your muscle and prepare them for more pressure. Throughout the massage, you will be asked about the pressure that your therapist is using. It is important that you are honest because the right amount of pressure is necessary to ensure optimal comfort and relaxation.

After Your Massage
Depending on the type of massage that you had, you may be a little sore afterward and this is perfectly normal. You should drink plenty of water throughout the day and try to avoid things that cause stress. Try to rest and avoid vigorous activity. You may feel energized or fatigued, depending on the type of massage that you had. Listen to your body and go with how you feel the rest of the day.

Now that you know what to expect with a massage, take a minute to book a professional massage in Raglan today. Make sure that you come about 15 minutes before your appointment time to account for the intake process.

 

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Beat the Winter Lurgies

So cold, flu and general lurgy season seems to be well and truly here. In my household I am the only one not to succumb so far (must be all the lovely oils I inhale while massaging the good folk out there). My son has had a sore throat and croup (the seal-like barking cough that I am sure many of you are familiar with), and to help him sleep through the night I rub his feet, back and chest with my own “Vicks” (made from bee balm and essential oils) and leave a bowl of hot water with a couple of drops of lemon myrtle on his oil heater to help humidify the air and ease his sore passages.

Lemon Myrtle is a wonderful oil for this time of year, and is particularly great for children – it promotes sleep, is a really effective decongestant and expectorant and smells wonderful (imagine a lemon cough lozenge). It can also be used in mouthwashes or gargles, useful tools in anyone’s arsenal against “lurgies”. I tried to convince my son to gargle with a mixture of warm water, salt and manuka oil and (bless him) he managed to do it three times before declaring, “No more”!

For those of us who don’t mind this sort of thing there are many essential oils one can use in this way – just make sure you spit it out! Myrrh is great for bleeding gums, lemon is a lovely breath freshener and immune booster, and the aforementioned manuka great for those sore throats or as a preventative measure. These formulas are much more palatable than the supermarket-bought ones and have added health benefits such as being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and immune-boosting. Mouth health is important for our overall well-being and the mouth is one of our first lines of defense against disease; we can help support this with essential oils.

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Serratus Anterior – One of the Great Unsung Heroes

Bruce Lee had a great set. Superheroes one’s show through their suits. Serratus Anterior is one of the muscular-skeletal system’s great unsung heroes. A modest muscle, starting at the upper ribs, attaching itself to the border of the shoulder blade closest to the spine. Most of us mere mortals do not have the well-developed sausage-like projections of the super folk, nevertheless this muscle plays an important role in shoulder mobility, strength and stability.

If you’ve ever noticed people who have “wings”, where the shoulder blades stick out like shark fins, that is a result of an imbalance in the back and shoulder muscles and a clear visual example of a dysfunctional serratus anterior. Oftentimes this will be accompanied with hunched posture and rounded shoulders and weak, over-stretched back muscles. Desk workers are prone to these types of imbalances, as are people with poor posture, women who breast feed for extended periods, large breasted women and anyone who takes part in activities that emphasise forwards bending over chest opening – modern life anyone??? Serratus Anterior plays a role in breathing, particularly during exercise. People with respiratory conditions such as asthma are often plagued with serratus anterior dysfunction as they tend to overuse certain groups of muscles over others.

Boxing and weights are examples of activities one can do to strengthen serratus anterior. Press ups target this region too. For people who find press ups difficult there is a version of this exercise you can do against a wall. See http://www.livestrong.com/article/459333-how-to-exercise-the-serratus-anterior/ for some great explanations of exercises you can do to help serratus anterior. If you have any shoulder issues or injuries please consult a health professional.

So, although not well-known, serratus anterior has an important role to play in terms of the functioning of our shoulder and thoracic region and clearly there are a variety of conditions and activities that affect it. Massage and bodywork are wonderful additions to your exercise regime, enabling good range of motion and joint health.

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The Benefits of Getting a Massage

Lots of people consider massage therapy a luxury, and not a procedure that could be considered a therapy for some medical ailments. But in actual fact, there are a huge amount of benefits to this type of therapy. It is certainly something that would be beneficial for most people to do every now and then. If possible, it really is beneficial to learn how to give a massage.

A key benefit of massage is that it is very relaxing. Massage therapy can aid in reducing levels of stress and induce a calming effect on folks that are feeling low or aggressive. Massage can also help folks that are having trouble getting sleep. You can receive massage treatment in a darkened room with nicely scented warm oil to really help you relax. Soothing tunes can be played as well. The total experience contributes to the feeling of relaxation.

Aching muscles can also be helped through massage therapy. If you are receiving a professional massage, it’s important to tell the therapist about any muscles that are aching that you would like attention paid to so those areas can be concentrated onthey can concentrate on the parts that require the most help. muscles are tight and massaged, this it can help to loosen them up, thus alleviating many other forms of pain like as backaches.

This type of treatment will also improve your immune system. Research shows that after being subjected to a massage people have higher white blood cell counts. In other words, it will help people recover from surgery and other kinds of illness.

Young children can greatly benefit from massages, and there are lots of resources you can use in order to learn how to perform a simple massage to calm them and help them to calm down when they are fussy. The digestive process of children can also be helped with massage therapy.

Even though it is beneficial in the majority of cases, there are some settings where safety can be an issue if you undergo this treatment. You will want to check with your doctor before you schedule any massage appointments just to be on the safe side. Heart issues and problems with blood vessels risk the safety of receiving a massagemake it unsafe for you to get a massage. Those who are pregnant should only receive a massage from a therapist who is qualified to perform pregnancy massages because applying massage some parts during certain times during the pregnancy is dangerous. It’s also important that you don’t receive a massage in parts of your body where skin conditions exist.

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Want to get pregnant? Just relax!

Are you trying to get pregnant? Are you stressed? Having issues in conceiving?

Research at the Harvard Medical School fertility center has found that women who were trying to get pregnant had 160% higher chance after undertaking stress management.

“Reproductive health experts have long wondered about the impact that stress may have on fertility, thus impeding a woman’s ability to conceive,”Alice Domar, manager of the fertility center, said in a statement.

Based on another study, Dr. R. Dale McClure, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, stated “It’s clear based on this carefully designed study, that a holistic approach to infertility care leads to better outcomes for patients”

Aromatherapy and Massage Therapy are a cost effective and delightful way to de-stress and unwind. Perhaps a scheduled series of treatments could be right for you?

As with all treatments, results can vary between recipients, but giving the benefits of massage and aromatherapy to your overall wellbeing, at very least you will be less stressed. This has to be good for you.

Come back soon, as this subject will be explored further. In the mean time, feel free to contact Diane on 021 969 929 or via email at diane [at] dianedavies.co.nz

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Five Benefits of Relaxation Massage

Relaxation massage has become a big part of many people’s lives in our busy and frantic routines. Your life style is probably taking it’s toll on your wellbeing. High-stress jobs, endless personal obligations, money worries, the list goes on. Getting regular relaxation massages can be an excellent step towards improved wellbeing.

If you get to the end of each day feeling torn and tattered, lacking energy, and sometimes patience with those around you, you are probably suffering from stress. Stress, in small amounts can be a good thing. It allows you to function faster and react better to events around you. But modern society has increased the stress levels for most people to a very dangerous level.

Just like a car, your body needs to be maintained. Letting your mind free and your body recharge is essential to your wellbeing. Not giving your mind and body chill out time is likely to result in illness and secondary effects such as poor performance at work or sport. The incidences of cancer and other serious disease can definitely be directly related to stress and the modern lifestyle. You owe it to yourself and family to take some time out for you.

An easy and cost effective step you can take is regular relaxation massages. Even better would be ongoing aromatherapy sessions. But if all you can spare is an hour a week, then relaxation massage may be the best option.

You will find that regular relaxation massage sessions will aid in:

  1. Improved Sleep
  2. More Energy
  3. Better Resistance to Illness
  4. Better Concentration
  5. More Patience

If you suffer from poor sleep, lack of energy, ongoing illness like colds and flu, lack of concentration and a short temper with those around you, you may well gain some very tangible benefits from relaxation massage on a regular basis.

Why not give it ago? You could find the weeks are not so bad after all when you have a nice ending to them.

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Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy massage is a holistic healing practice that has existed for several hundreds of years. Recently, there has been a renaissance of this forms of therapy to address the stresses of modern living. People from all walks of life see these holistic alternatives as cost effective solution to their aching muscles and as an escape from the pressure which their busy lifestyle imposes on them.

Aromatherapy massage is truly a great way to relax and de-stress, the essential oils do offer the added extra benefit of their therapeutic properties to the body during massage by being absorbed through the skin. This is one reason it is important not to shower within four hours after a massage.

In addition to this, there is strong evidence that the oils used in can interact with the core systems of the body, sometimes called the limbic system, or “smell brain”. This interaction can achieve incredible results in alleviating symptoms of stress and symptoms of medical conditions.

Consider how much impact a smell can have on you. For instance a freshly squeezed orange, or freshly brewed coffee. Even bread straight out of the oven can have an impact on your mood or sense of wellbeing.

Aromatherapy Massage takes this a step further as the oils used combine their underlying scents and chemical properties, combining them to address specific ailments or alleviate feelings of imbalance. The scope and power of smell is quite amazing.

If you would like to experience this yourself, feel free to book an initial consultation with by emailing me at diane [@]
dianedavies.co.nz
or calling 021 969928

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The Soothing Secrets of Oil

What is massage? What is the essence of using massage oil? By and large, massage involves the techniques of kneading or rubbing the parts of the body by means of the use of either lotion or oil. These mediums help in stimulating the nerves, improving the blood circulation, and in relaxing the muscles. Known to be therapeutic, massage is practiced in every part of the world. It is known to bring about peace of mind and emotion apart from the physical benefits that it provides. Massage therapy, as it is often addressed, promotes a healing effect that lets go of stress. To further contribute to an overall healing effect to the body, mind, and heart, special oils are utilized.

Each of the oils contain their own special properties. Some of them are comprised of the calming properties, relaxing properties, erotic properties, and of course, the healing properties. Combination of oils can enhance their affect.

The Breakdown of the Different Types of Oil

For the most common and general problems related to the health, the following types of oil are used:

  • The apricot kernel oil is best for stress reduction because it produces such a relaxing state for the mind and body to enjoy.
  • The olive oil is used for stiffness remedy. It is also recognized to improve the skin and complexion.
  • The borage massage oil is used to treat psoriasis and eczema.
  • The kukui nut oil and almond oil both contain the anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The emu oil is practical to use to cure joint pain, arthritis, and back pain.

Massage Therapy and Aromatherapy

When combined, massage therapy and aromatherapy are able to generate exemplary effects in taking off stress, relaxing, and stimulating a good mood. In fact, the massage that is employed with some exotic and sweet oils are essential in setting a calm and relaxed mood. With the right combination of oils, you can literally feel the stress of the day drop off your shoulders.

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