Monthly Archives: January 2014

what’s a knot?

You can feel it and I can feel it when I massage you; that little – or big – knot that’s painful to touch but needs to be worked on to relax. When coming for a massage, most people know they are tight and most people are yet surprised to see how many knots they have; they are very often a lot more than they were expecting!

So we know they are painful and we want to get rid of them – or at least we don’t want them to hurt that bad. But then, what is that thing exactly?

A muscle knot is actually a myofascial trigger point. When you want to use a muscle to do a movement, your brain sends a message to the muscle for it to act in a certain way, to contract and relax. When the muscle stays contracted without receiving any messages, it is going to create a knot in a specific area of the muscle. That happens for many reasons: injury, sedentary life style, overuse or stress. The muscle is just going to stay ‘stuck’. The knot is just a little part of the muscle in itself and specialists have found out that they are some patterns in where the knots form.

Because the muscle remains flexed and refuse to relax, it creates pain.

TrPs can be “active” or inactive.” Have you ever felt very achy when you’re sick with a cold or flu? Much of this ache can be contributed to inactive (latent) knots that are being woken up or activated by the cold. If they are active they are usually shooting (referring) pain all over the place. If they are in your shoulders, neck, head, or jaw you can get a tension headache. If you have one in your rotator cuff it can make your forearm hurt. There are even knots that can develop in your neck muscles that can make your ear ring, your eye water, or even give you a toothache! If the referral pain touches another knot it can activate it, or if it is chronic enough you can develop MORE knots within the referral pattern of the original knot.

backmuscle-triggerpointsThe good news is these referral patterns are not at all random. They follow very specific routes through the body which are so consistent we have developed “Trigger Point Charts.” The darker areas are the most common referral patterns, the lighter areas a little less common.

 

What can you do to remove your knots?

Thinking that exercising, like running, after a day at work is going to help is wrong and can actually make the whole thing worst. Your muscles have behaved abnormally all day by sitting at a desk and all of a sudden they should work 100%. Bad bad bad for your body! That’s when stretching – I mean real long and good stretches – start being so crucial if you want to help your body prepare for that run. Stretch and start walking for example, before going for the full run. During the day, take frequent breaks while at work to walk around and get some fresh water. It’s going to keep your muscles hydrated and working a bit. If you start experiencing pain during your exercise, it is the sign that you must stop, your muscle is too weak to perform the movement, so never ‘push through’ the pain or you are really going to injure yourself.

  1. Come and see me for an hour deep tissue massage and some myofascial release
  2. Take regular bath with Epsom Salt. Epsom Salt contains magnesium, which is quickly absorbed through the skin and goes directly in the blood system and hence your muscles. Your muscles relax quickly and effectively that way.
  3. Give yourself a massage. The tennis ball and roller foam should always be your best friends! A couple of minutes a day is going to make a huge difference! Think about it like brushing your teeth: it’s just an obligation to stay healthy
  4. Stretch every day but be careful: if you pull hard to touch your toes and hunch over your are going to injure your lower back; always bend your knees if you want to stretch your back. If you want to stretch your legs, do so while lying on your back, it’s going to prevent you from getting injured.
  5. Relax!!! Find your way to relax, take deep breaths, enjoy the beautiful skies and spend some good quality time in good company;-)

 

Aromatherapy massage

Having a massage is great right? So just think about receiving a massage with a little extra that will make your experience just even better! Aromatherapy massage is a style of massage that is becoming more and more popular, and for a good reason: the benefits are numerous on all physical, emotional and spiritual levels but they are just starting to unfold; as much more is yet to be discovered on how essential oil really work.

So lets talk a bit more about what it really is.

An aromatherapy massage is most likely to be a relaxation massage. The therapist will choose, with you, some essential oils that respond the best to the feeling you want to experience or the pain or bad feeling you want to get rid off.

The essential oils are added to a carrier oil which is generally made of nuts or seeds, such as wheat germ oil, avocado oil or grape seed oil. Knowing that, it is extremely important to let your therapist know about your allergies! The mix can be warmed up to enhance the feeling of relaxation. The oils can be used in a burner too or put onto hot towels that will be applied on the body after the massage. But the smell coming from the oil used for the massage is generally enough to get into your system and works its magic!

 

How does the aromatherapy massage work?

The nostrils are attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones.

When you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system and affect heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, memory, digestion, and the immune system.

As the skin is the biggest organ in the human body and because everything that penetrates the skin is not filtered by the liver, essential oils penetrate the skin and get directly into the blood system and therefore the whole body. It is therefore extremely important to use organic products only as you really don’t want those nasty chemicals get into your system.

Each essential oil has different healing properties. For example, some calm while others energize. Here are some widely used essential oils and their properties:

  • calming – chamomile, lavender, geranium, lavender
  • uplifting – ylang ylang, clary sage, rose, neroli
  • energizing – rosemary
  • cleansing – rosemary, menthol, lavender
  • decongesting – eucalyptus, pine, tea tree, menthol

Very often, therapists will use already prepared blend of essential oils. They have been made to bring a certain feeling to the patient and to complete each other perfectly.

Aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to conditions involving stress or improving emotionally-related conditions:

  • stress and insomnia
  • digestive disorders
  • headaches
  • premenstrual syndrome
  • back pain

What is used during an aromatherapy massage at Sublimity?

I have a certificate in aromatherapy and I just love to use essential oils in pretty much all areas of my life: I add it to my home-made cleaning products, to Epsom salt to have an amazing bath and I use some special pressure points blend of oils of my girls when they are too crazy or emotional (it works wonder by the way and they say it’s their special perfume;-)

Anyway, just to say that I am a strongly believer in the many benefits of essential oils. So I really had to offer aromatherapy massage to my clients but first I needed to find the perfect blend (it is a lot cheaper and easier when starting a business) and I have!

I use the five beautiful blend from World Organic:

  • Joy Blend is uplifting to the mood, helping to awaken the spirit, instil positivity, and promote emotional well-being.
  • Breathe Blend helps to clear the airways, supporting effective mucus expulsion and congested breathing with its antiseptic and expectorant
  • Sensual Blend is wonderfully fragrant and aromatic. It is uplifting to the spirits, yet intimate and calming at the same time.
  • Unwind Blend helps to calm and relax the senses, and create an atmosphere of tranquillity and peace.
  • Vitality Blend helps restore mental clarity. Uplifting and rejuvenating, it also helps to boost confidence.

aroma

 

When you arrive for your treatment, we will have a quick chat on what you expect from your aromatherapy massage. You will then smell all five blends and you will decide which one you prefer. I strongly believe that smell guides you towards what’s better for you. But saying so, I had a client who wanted to relax but was very congested. So I recommended using the ‘Breath’ blend which was not her first choice. After the massage, her nose was clear and she felt as if her body had had a deep cleanse, she was healed!

During the massage, I use hot towels with one drop of the blend on them. I use the towels on the body part that has just been massage to bring even more relaxation and leave your body clean and refreshed. At the end of the massage I apply a hot towel on the face which is just pure bliss.

After the massage you will have to come back to earth but you will feel just amazing, I promise!

If you have any more questions, please let me know, otherwise come and spoil yourself by booking an aromatherapy massage now!