Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Massage: Creative Techniques & Mindful Approaches to Massage Therapy

Not only is massage a great way to relax the body and mind, and find relief from daily strains and stress, but a professional massage can also help to enhance vitality and general health.

When the body is stressed and locked into a fight or flight mechanism, every function of the body is also altered. This can lead to many disorders and medical conditions (such as muscle pain and spasm, headaches, fatigue, constipation, obesity, and TMJ disorder.)

By using a variety of creative techniques, a skilled massage therapist can alleviate these issues and provide many other benefits. Massage therapy, in all its many forms, has been used for healing for many thousands of years and continues to be an effective way to heal mind, body, and spirit.

Relaxation Relates to a Healthy Body

Massage therapy can focus on body parts and offer relief from pain and other issues. For example, in shoulder stiffness, the practitioner should focus on relaxing the shoulder muscle by stretching forward and rear the rotator cuff with the subject lying face down and then applying pressure and stroking.

Myofascial release technique can be applied to stretch the fascia by applying forces in opposite directions with the fingers or with the hands. This massage technique is starting gently and then increases the force when the tissues relax. Myofascial release can be used to treat poor posture, scoliosis, back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, whiplash, and arthritis.

Integrating Creativity in Your Massage Practice

While both eastern and western massage techniques can be very technical, it is important to use intuition and creativity in your massage practice. For a massage therapist, it is very important to apply as many approaches as possible, creatively adapting to the each unique individual. Below we share a few ideas offered by Bloomington, IL based massage center N8 Touch Massage where many different massage therapists offer various massage services and treatment.

As the Bloomington massage specialists emphasize, it is beneficial to introduce some cranio-sacral massage techniques that work with the nervous system in depth. This creative massage technique can release muscle tension and promote general relaxation throughout the entire body. The massage practitioner can sense the subtle rhythms of the nervous system by accessing the points at the cranium, along the spine, and at the base of spine.

Oriental principles of Meridians from the Chinese Medicine can be used creatively together with the crani-sacral therapy. For example, the kidney and the bladder meridians are associated with the element of water, with the ability to recover from stress, and with the emotion of fear. These two meridians run around the spine and they are directly affected if we are scared or stressed.

Adapting to the individual, creatively including using various massage styles and application of unique grips (techniques) enables healing, in addition to sustainability by the practitioner. You may use the Terrier’s soft tissue grip for releasing the different muscle contractions and shortenings. Manual therapy techniques can also treat painful and inflamed ligaments and narrowed joint movements. Elements of Thai massage combined with basic grips of osteopathy, Youmeiho massage, therapeutic mud wrap, and Swedish gripping techniques can treat various physical issues.

It is also important to remember the importance of a holistic approach, as our body cannot be separated from our spirit. Stress reliving techniques and Eastern massage techniques, such as the Thai massage, are better suited to holistically treat body, mind and spirit. For more information on various types of massage and massage services, explore the

Friday, April 11, 2014

Creative, Healthy Ideas for Retirement Community Activities

In today's day in age, it is important to have elderly residents living in retirement communities getting involved and engaged in a variety of activities. With creative and stimulating activities and programs, older adults can better interact and socialize with one another, improve their physical and mental well-being, explore their creative senses, and make life more enjoyable.

The most suitable activities for seniors are those that enable participants to maintain their individuality while catering to their interests and tastes. Assisted living facilities and retirement communities often miss the mark in offering these types of activities, leaving residents feeling incomplete, bored, and depressed.

Categories of Senior-friendly Activities

Activities for seniors can be grouped into different categories. This may include creative pursuits, education, health and fitness, reaction and interaction. Within these categories there are numerous activities which are suitable for seniors despite their physical capabilities or any other capabilities.

As earlier stated, these retirement community activities enable seniors to socialize, enhance and maintain their health and bring more activity into their life. Below we explore a number of creative, health ideas for retirement community activities that residents will enjoy and thrive upon.

1. Physical & Mental Health Activities

These are highly important categories and it is therefore important to find engaging activities which will help in improving their overall well-being. Some of the physical activities that they can engage themselves in includes altered yoga, water aerobics, light dance classes and weight training as well as chair exercises.

When it comes to hand-eye coordination exercises, they can play table tennis, pool. The seniors who are chair-bound can play balloon tennis.

Having them attend health and nutrition seminars is another brilliant idea. It is from such seminars that they will get to learn the importance of good nutrition and even learn simple recipes of healthy treats while they interact with one another and share different ideas.

In order to keep the aging mind sharp and improve the memory, there are various games that seniors can play. Some of these include different brain games such as the matching card, word association and cross word puzzles. Another great activity used to enhance mental health is forming book clubs. This will enable the seniors to gain access and read different books which will help improve mental fitness and exercise their brains.

2. Creative & Artistic Pursuits

Creativity is highly important. In order to encourage this, arts and crafts classes can be provided. Seniors can participate in light wood work, soft sculpture and painting. They can also do knitting, quilting circles, beading and flower arranging classes, gardening societies, scrap booking and creative writing classes.

You can also have them attend craft fairs and have them participate by displaying their artworks. This event can be organized between different retirement communities. Snyder Village, one of the top retirement communities in Peoria, IL, is highly engaged in these types of activities, and has realized positive results and well-being among the community.

3. Cultural, Historical & Educational Activities

Some of the activities included here are going out for field trips to visit historic places and museums. Concerts and theater can either be arranged in-house or as a field tour. You can also come up with clubs where senior citizen can meet on a regular basis and get to discuss current affairs.

A history project is another brilliant idea which will enable senior citizens share personal memories of historical events. This will enable them learn different cultures and keep them entertained.

Do you have any senior-friendly activities that can be explored in more retirement community settings? Let us know in the comments section below.