Relieve Stress

#18 of 31 posts in 31 days

Stress relief could be a full day at the spa with a massage, facial and lunch.

~Or it could be an extra long hug from someone special.

You could spend the whole day shopping.

~Or you could stop for a full 15 minutes and sit on the porch.

Stress management could involve Facebook, internet games, chatting and sharing.

~Or an afternoon of blowing bubbles, chasing butterflies and wishing on dandelions with a 5-year-old.

Relieving stress is easy.

Some days you have time to get a Therapeutic Massage.

Other days you have to force yourself to sit down with no distractions.

Every day you should strive for a little time. Ten minutes in the tub, 15 minutes doing stuff outside, 20 minutes of conversation. You could start a gratitude journal. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down things you are grateful for that day. No spell-check or grammar police, just thankfulness. ¬†ūüôā

Everyone needs a little something to distract you from the pressures of life.

Make stress management a priority. Too much stress can make you sick, tired and cranky. Schedule regular massages. Spend time outside. Exercise. Spend time with loved ones.

Today we danced, chased bubbles, played games and watched TV. What’s your favorite way to unwind?

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

Q & A Running and Lower Back Pain

#15 of 31 posts in 31 days

Q- “Why do my hips and lower back hurt after I run?”

A- Running is a fantastic way to keep in shape. It engages the whole body, increases your heart rate and burns calories. (Yay!) My clients who run often tell me how great they feel after their regular runs.

They also tell me about their aches and pains. Running also puts strain on the body, especially the hips. Runners often complain of pain in the hip flexors. Hip flexors raise the thigh with every step you take. The most common cause for pain in these muscles is overuse.

So what are these muscles?

*Psoas Major
*Iliacus
*Rectus Femoris
*Sartorius

The Psoas and Iliacus are most commonly referred to as the Iliopsoas. They are located deep in the pelvic/abdominal area. They are strong muscles and get stronger with running. The Psoas originates in the lumbar region of the spine and attaches into the lesser trochanter of the femur. If these muscles are strained and pulling tight then it results  in lower back pain or pain in the pelvic area. The tighter the muscles, the harder the pull.

File:Anterior Hip Muscles 2.PNG

So what do we do?

First assess your training regimen. Are you running too much too soon? Consult a qualified trainer or running coach if you need help with this.

I work with this kind of hip pain with some massage techniques and some Active Isolated Stretching. Starting with compression, I begin by relaxing the body and the muscles. Compression is on the hips/glutes and down the back of the legs. Trigger points are next. I do address the area of and around the piriformis. I perform kneading  along the leg. I also apply friction to the IT band down the side of the leg.

Before you turn over we isolate the Iliopsoas with some AIS mentioned above. This means that you lift your leg against my resistance, hold for 3-5 seconds and relax. We do this several times with each leg. We also do this with other while face up.

Then I help you stretch your legs! This feels amazing! We talk about how you can do stretches at home. We talk about adjusting your run time. We plan your next massage session.

With a combined effort we can work to reduce the discomforts that develop from running ūüôā

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

PS This is my first time to add an image to my blog! (woo hoo) I have no idea how to tell you how I got it. ¬†I found it on Wikipedia ūüôā

PSS If you know a way for me to properly include that on or under the picture please email me!

Get to Know Me

Fantastic instructions on how to schedule an appointment.

#9 of 31 posts in 31 days 

Hi, I’m Tracy Bradley, Licensed Massage Therapist at The Comfort Zone Massage in Paris, Arkansas.

I want to make it easy for you to get an appointment. ¬†You may call, text, email me, send a ¬†Facebook message, or book online. ¬†That’s 5 easy ways to find the perfect time to get a massage. ¬†If you’ve never met me and want to talk, give me a ring, I love to chat! ¬†You can also visit my website to read about each service that I provide. ¬†There is a page to tell you about me and I include a picture. ¬†If you follow my business on Facebook you will see pictures, ideas, interesting articles and openings. ¬†You’ll get an idea of “who I am.”

Proud member of the ASMTA!
Proud member of the ASMTA!

Online Scheduling is new to my business. Let me tell you how easy it is!  I went through the process to see if scheduling a massage appointment was easy or difficult.   SIMPLE.  It was so easy!

Step 1: ¬†Go to my website or click this link –> www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

Step 2: ¬†Click “Schedule Appointment” at the top of the page.

Step 3:  Choose a Service

Step 4:  Choose the day/time perfect for you.

Step 5:  Enter your name, phone number and email.

Step 6: ¬†Click “Schedule Appointment”

That’s it. ¬†You will receive an email saying I have received your appointment request. ¬†I get a text and an email. ¬†In the email I get the option of accepting or declining the appointment. ¬†You then receive an email when I accept it. ¬†Easy. ¬†Quick.

I am easy to talk to. ¬†I call people back. ¬†I even call you back if you don’t leave a message. ¬†I return texts and emails. ¬†I want you to get to know me on my website, blog and Facebook. ¬†And I want to get to know you! ¬†Which is better for you? Phone calls, text, or online? ¬†Please, find me on Facebook and check out the website. ¬†Is my contact information easy for you to find? ¬†Is it easy for you to find me? Go ahead, book an appointment while you’re there!

Amazed

Have you been watching the Olympics?  We have been watching in the evenings.  I enjoy watching all of the athletes who represent the USA.  I must confess to shedding a  few tears during some of the performances of The National Anthem.  The pageantry, the pride, the structure, I love all of it!

But I get distracted. ¬†All. Those. ¬†MUSCLES! ¬† Muscles are everywhere! ¬† When I was a kid I would watch the gymnastics. ¬†I loved the outfits. ¬†I couldn’t tell you what color anyone’s uniforms are this year. ¬†But the muscles, my eyes have been glued to the muscles! ¬†I touch, rub, and knead muscles all day every day. ¬†But I’ve never seen muscles like these in real life.

During the diving and gymnastics the legs grab my attention.  It takes POWER to execute those moves.  Watching theses athletes is like watching anatomy truly in motion.  I am amazed every time I see a set of thighs and hamstrings catapult someone through the air. AMAZED.

The swimmers’ arms fascinate me. ¬†I work on a lot of shoulders. Shoulder pain, frozen shoulder, tight shoulders. ¬†I am not accustomed to seeing shoulders that move so freely! ¬†Did you see Michael Phelps flop his arms around waiting to start his race?! ¬†I think I would lose my hand if I tried to access his subscapularis! ¬†AMAZING.

These athletes are powerful, dedicated, beautiful specimens of the human body.    As they perform their different events, I imagine which muscles are moving and how they are moving.  I literally get lost in the muscles.  I even think about what treatment they might need after an event.  What could I do to help them?

When I ask you, “What do you do?” ¬†or “Where do you work?” ¬†it is because I try to imagine your actions all day. ¬†What do your muscles do to keep you moving? ¬†What muscles help you achieve your work? ¬†What actions do your muscles do day in and day out? ¬†How can I help them? ¬†How can I help YOU?

www.thecomfortzonemassage.com

Why Should You Get a Massage This Week?

5th post of 31 posts in 31 days

Why should you get a massage this week?

1. ¬†I have a few openings ūüôā

2.  A half-hour massage is like a super-charged power nap.  You get to rest for 30 minutes AND get your neck, shoulders and feet rubbed.

3. ¬†You battled massive, cranky school-shopping crowds in order to save the sales tax. ¬†Let’s face it, even though you saved a bundle, scored some deals, and made it through alive, an hour vacation from people just sounds AWESOME.

4. ¬†You’ve been working in the yard or garden and your legs hurt.

5.  Hot towels nestled atop your shoulder muscles for a bit feels AMAZING.

6.  A ninety minute massage can melt your stress, make you  drool, work out your muscle knots, stretch your muscles, relax your mind, recharge your batteries and renew your spirit.

7.  Massage feels good.  Especially on the scalp.  And neck.

There you have it! ¬†7 good reasons you should get a massage this week. ¬†There are many more reasons, but I need something to write about later ūüėČ

Choose a reason and schedule an appointment!

Love and Hugs

#4 of 31 posts in 31 days

I am a massage therapist. ¬†I talk A LOT about massage every day. ¬†I think about it, I read about it, ¬†I talk about it, I practice it. ¬†I touch people. ¬†Healthy, nurturing touch, in my opinion, is one of the most essential basic needs that humans must have to thrive. ¬†Tiny babies come into the world needing¬†to be held,¬†needing¬†to be touched,¬†needing¬†to be nurtured and fed. ¬†Nature’s way of feeding babies involves skin-to-skin contact. ¬†We¬†want¬†to hug and snuggle our toddlers and small children. ¬†We wish our teenagers would hug us more often. ¬†We wish our hugs could fix our teenager’s “problems”. ¬†When we fall in love we lavish attention upon each other. ¬† Couples hold hands, hug, kiss, sit arm-in-arm, and sleep close together.

We crave healthy touch.  We need to feel loved, secure, happy, and not alone.  I am attending a wedding today.  The bride and groom are well past seventy years of age.  Each has been married before.  The groom was married for more than 50 years to the same woman. He cared for her when she was sick.  From what I understand he never left her side, except for work.  They lived a happy, committed married life.  The bride started a life and family with her first husband, only to lose him to cancer at the young age of 38.  She worked, raised children and cared for him when he was sick.  She went on to marry again.  They were married for 29 years, committed and devoted to each other.  He suffered poor health and she never left his side.  She loved and cared for him, as his wife and care-giver.

I am honored to attend this union. ¬†I enjoy seeing the hand-holding, the hugs, and the smiles. ¬†I’ve heard laughing that I haven’t heard in a while. ¬†I see joy. ¬†I see the human connection that we all crave, need and deserve. ¬†I am happy to know that these two people will not have to spend another night alone, wishing for a hand to hold, or searching for a kiss good-night. ¬†Their lives will be enhanced by companionship, their sorrow soothed with hugs, and their future filled with laughter and joy.

As I think about these two people and the benefits of healthy, nurturing touch added to their lives, I look to my own life. ¬†I think I will give my 5-year-old some extra hugs, and hold my husband’s hand while we watch TV.

Progressive Relaxation Exercise

This is post #3 in the 31 posts in 31 days challenge!  

Progressive Relaxation is a fantastic process to learn.  You can use progressive relaxation to reduce stress, pin-point and prevent muscle tension, relieve muscle tension, fight insomnia and help with anxiety.  It is a simple process that requires you to slow down and focus on each different muscle group slowly.  By taking the time to focus and exert control over your muscles, over time you may be able to notice when you are holding tension in certain areas when you are working.  Maybe you shrug and tense your shoulders when you are angry.  You might clench your teeth and jaws while typing a report.  The sooner you notice these things the sooner you can relieve the tension and hopefully prevent or reduce painful symptoms.

I found the following Progressive Relaxation Exercise at Natural Touch Marketing.  I use the exercise myself and I recommend it to my clients.

Lie down or sit in a chair, wherever you are comfortable.  You will tense and hold each body part for about 10 seconds and then release it completely for at least 10 seconds.  Count to yourself silently from one to ten.

1. Clench your right fist, tighten the right arm and hold them tight.  Completely relax them, and then clench again.  Relax.  Now clench and relax your left arm in the same manner.  Now observe how your hands and arms feel.

2. Stretch your right leg out.  Draw the toes of the right foot toward the knee, tighten the whole leg, and hold.  Relax and then stretch and tighten again.  Relax completely.  Now do the left leg.  Now point the toes of the right foot, tense and hold.  Relax.  Left leg next.  Relax completely and observe how your legs feel.

3. Draw together the shoulder blades.  Tense and hold.  Relax completely and tense them again.  Relax.

4. Exhale and pull the abdomen in tightly and hold.  Inhale, and relax completely.  Again exhale and pull the abdomen in tightly and hold.  Inhale and relax.  Now observe how your back, chest and abdomen feel.

5. Tighten the muscles around your eyes and mouth, and hold.  Relax and repeat.  Relax completely.

6. Now breathe and observe your body.  Notice how you feel.  Do you feel differently?

This is great for those times you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. ¬†I also recommend doing this exercise regularly when trying to figure out why a certain muscle group always hurts or becomes tense. ¬†Try it and tell us what you think!

Migraine Q & A

This is day 2 of the “31 posts in 31 days” blogging challenge.¬†

¬†Q- I know there are many things out there for headaches, but I’d like to hear what you¬†have¬†to say. ¬†I have recently weened myself off of my Topomax due to the negative findings related to the drug for migraines. ¬†I am having headaches almost everyday but not at all like the migraines before. ¬†What do you recommend I do between massages?¬†

A- I visited MayoClinic.com to research this question.  I work mainly with tension headaches so I wanted to get accurate information about migraines.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that some of the same things that I recommend for tension headaches are recommended for migraine headaches.


Please consult with a doctor before using or discontinuing any medications.  I am not suggesting anyone stop medications, simply suggesting a few things to do at home to hopefully prevent headaches. 

These tips are taken from the website www.mayclinic.com, but they are also things I recommend to people suffering from headaches.

*Muscle Relaxation Exercises- Progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga.  You may also try spending at least a half-hour per day doing something fun!

*Get Enough Sleep- The average adult needs 6-8 hours of sleep each night.  Your body likes to go to bed and wake up at the same times, too.

*Rest and Relax

*Headache Diary- Keeping a headache diary is great way to figure out headache triggers.  You may discover a food trigger or hormone trigger.  Learning these things may make it easier to adjust things to reduce headaches.

*Manual Therapy- Massage Therapy and Chiropractic treatments may help reduce the frequency of migraines.

In between massage sessions, you could practice progressive relaxation techniques (tomorrow’s post!), and self head and neck massage. ¬† If you work at a computer take frequent breaks, adjust your chair and monitor, and move around as much as you can.

Do you suffer from migraines?  Do you have a way to prevent or relieve the pain? Please share in the comments!

PS. ¬†I fight headaches with my bare hands atwww.thecomfortzonemassage.com ūüôā¬†

6 Steps to Fight Your Headache

Headaches. ¬†I’m sure this word brings a series of wonderful words to mind if you suffer them. ¬†Many of my clients tell me they suffer from frequent headaches. ¬†Headaches aren’t fun. ¬†I decided to write about headaches today because¬†my head hurts.¬† I don’t like it and I feel like whining. ¬†Since whining isn’t helping I decided to use this energy for good! ¬†I did a few things to make my head feel better and thought, “HEY! ¬†I could write this in my blog for someone else with a headache to read!” ¬†So, here you go. ¬†Six steps to Fight Your Headache. ¬†I tried to make it five but I really didn’t want to leave any of these steps out because they all work together.

1. Neck Rotations

You don’t even have to get up! ¬†Start by looking over each shoulder. ¬†Slowly. ¬†Relax your shoulders and straighten your spine so your chest is open. ¬†SLOWLY turn your head to look over your left ear. ¬†SLOWLY move to look over your right ear. ¬†Do this 3-5 times slowly. ¬†(See the trend?) ¬†Now rotate your head so that your chin moves in a circle towards your chest, from side to side. ¬†Do this 4-5 times.

2. Shoulder Rotations

Take a deep breath to relax your shoulders.  Now move your shoulders in circles, forward and backward.  5, 10 to 15 times feels great.  This gets the blood moving and the muscles start to loosen.  Now shake them out a little bit.  

3. Massage Your Neck

Take one hand, with fingers together, and make a “C.” ¬†Put this “C” on your neck vertically. ¬†Now move your fingers. ¬†You can squeeze, push, shake, push, or pull. ¬†Whatever feels good at the time. ¬†Massage each side of the neck for a bit. ¬†1-3 minutes should be great. ¬†Or stop when your arm starts to hurt.¬†

4. Pressure

At the base of your skull there are two indentations on the side of neck. ¬†These are a great place to apply pressure to relieve headaches. ¬†Once you’ve found these indentations take one thumb and push into one side. ¬†Hold for about 10 seconds. ¬†You may push lightly or you could push very hard, whichever feels best at the time. ¬†Push 3 times on each side.

5. Face Massage

Take your fingertips and rub circles into your forehead.  30 seconds to a minute feels good.  Rub gentle circles at the temples for as long as you like.  Rub your eyebrows.  You can apply direct pressure to your brows and cheekbones.  These areas can use a little more pressure.  Now rub big circles on your cheeks.

6. Scalp Massage

Lift your hands. ¬†Spread your fingers out and bend them a bit to look like a claw. ¬†Put your “claws” on your scalp and rub. ¬†Fast. ¬†Slow. ¬†Deep. ¬†Gentle. ¬†Circles. ¬†Lines. ¬†ANY and ALL of them! ¬†The people around you may look ¬†at you funny because you might be moaning and groaning by now! ¬†Do this scalp massage as long as you want to. ¬†

Hopefully your head feels better now! ¬†Mine does. ¬†Even if your headache isn’t completely gone it should feel a lot better now. ¬†You’re welcome ūüôā

I give this advice to my clients and I hope it helps you!  I like to tell people that I fight headaches with my bare hands!  

Did it work?  How does your head feel?