Massage Therapy: Why is it good for Stress and Pain?

Massage therapy provides a ton of health benefits, but possibly none more life-changing than the effect it has on stress and pain. This powerful tool is a great way to take control of your own health and avoid self-medicating with prescription drugs, alcohol, or other substances. There are tons of different types of massages and a wide variety of places that now offer this therapy as an alternative form of treatment, but all will provide similar health benefits – while reducing your stress and relieving your pain.

Stress relief

Stress is an important part of life – it keeps you motivated and on task, and keeps your reflexes sharp. The fight-or-flight response created by the adrenaline stimulating your heart rate and the boost to your blood sugar from increased cortisol plays an important role – but too much stress can cause your body to react in a very negative way. This can manifest through physical symptoms like upset stomach, chest pain, headaches, insomnia, and even elevated blood pressure. Increased stress can also worsen symptoms associated with certain conditions or diseases.

However, massage has the power to help your body deal with stress in a positive, healthy way. Just one session can be enough to make a significant impact on your heart rate, cortisol levels, and insulin levels – lowering them enough to take your body out of fight-or-flight mode and promote relaxation. While loosening your tense muscles, massage increases your body’s “feel good” chemicals – endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine – creating an all-over calming effect that can make any stress seem a much less pressing issue.
Pain relief

More than a quarter of Americans over the age of 20 have dealt with chronic pain that persists more than 24 hours – which has a huge impact on anyone’s quality of life and productivity at work. Unfortunately, most pain medications come with a host of unwanted and very unpleasant side effects, leading more and more people to turn to massage as a way to deal with ongoing pain issues.

Patients suffering from pain syndromes like arthritis and fibromyalgia have reported positive results from incorporating massage into their treatment program – noting that massage therapy resulted in an increased range of motion and quicker, easier movements. Grip strength and associated pain were diminished, and patients also showed lowered levels of anxiety and elevated moods. This makes sleep much easier, giving chronic pain sufferers more opportunity to heal and fight their pain in a more effective, efficient way.

Massage therapy, and the release of the “feel good” chemicals into the brain, can be a great way to treat pain and stress in a natural, healthy way. Living with chronic pain or ongoing stress is incredibly hard on sufferers, but by introducing the non-invasive, medication-free therapy of massage, patients can see benefits almost immediately.

However, keep in mind that massage is not a replacement for other types of medical care. If your stress or pain can’t be managed through medications or massage, you should see a health care professional to determine the specific cause of your condition and look at other alternative treatments.

Thank you to Jon Reyes who wrote this article. Jon is a guest author for Therapeutic Massage from and is a respected and expert voice in a plethora of health related subjects with over 10 years of writing under his belt.


Ancient Tools for Modern Health

Humans have been using plants for health and wellness for thousands of years. Cave paintings in France show medicinal plant use as far back as 18,000 B.C. While no one knows exactly when or where oils were originally extracted from plants, according to history, Egyptians were using oils derived from plants as early as 4500 B.C. Their uses included perfume, flavoring, incense, ceremonial tools and as medicine. They even played a role in embalming. When the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun (King Tut) was opened, among the luxurious contents found within were various beautifully crafted jars and containers. One particular jar was discovered to contain a perfumed balm, still radiantly fragrant after so many centuries.
Plant oils have been used extensively in China and India for a few thousand years. By the 3rd and 4th century B.C. their use had spread to the Mediterranean. Once the crusades began, they gained popularity in Europe and continued to spread from there. Oils from plants are mentioned throughout the Bible both for their healing properties and for the purpose of anointing. Not just a few mentions here and there but over 500 times. The most famous was comparable to gold, Frankincense & Myrrh given to the baby Jesus by the wise men.
So what are they and how can they benefit you? Essential oils are the “life force or blood” of the plant placed there by nature to maintain the health of the plant. They are microscopic aromatic compounds found in various parts of the plants each valued for its own purposes. Derived from citrus rinds, roots, stems, seeds, leaves, or bark. The plant matter is distilled or expressed, drawing oil and collecting a liquid “essence” of the plant.
While many people use essential oils for fragrance (with good reason!), quality essential oils can be used for so much more. They help maintain health and wellness, Lemon oil supports a healthy immune system, Lavender relieves occasional sleeplessness and promotes a sense of calming, Peppermint for head and neck tension, also nausea and motion sickness, Sandalwood calms emotions and relieves restlessness also irritability Sandalwood may aid in memory problems associated with aging. Way too many to list right here in this article and new uses are being discovered today.
Because everyone has their own unique chemistry, some oils work better than other on certain people just as modern medications. The best way to find what appeals to you is to inhale the aromatic compounds (smell the oil) if you are drawn to it then use it. Pay attention to the effect you just may just find a whole new way of empowering health and wellness.
Memory & Task Management Blend
½oz Grapeseed Oil
15 drops Sandalwood
12 drops Frankincense
10 drops Wild Orange
5 drops Clove
Learn more…To host a class in your home or join a class contact Therapeutic Massage @ 456-3585
** These statements have not been evaluated by the Federal Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Essential Oil 101 Beginner’s Guide

Essential Oil 101 Beginner’s  Guide

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What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are volatile liquids that are distilled from plants (including their seeds, barks, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruit, etc.). One of the factors that determines the purity and the therapeutic value of an oils is it’s chemical constituents. These constituents can be affected by so many things: the soil condition, the fertilizer used, the geographical region, climate, harvest season and method, and the distillation process.

Thyme (thyme vulgaris) will be different in structure depending on the time it was harvested. High levels of thymol depend of the time of the year that it was distilled. If distilled during mid-summer or late fall, there can be higher levels of carvacrol, which can cause the oil to be more caustic and irritating to the skin. Low pressure and low temperature are the key to maintaining purity and the therapeutic value of the oil. It matters when and how all oils are harvested.

So you can see why it is so important to make sure that you comprehend the absolute necessity of obtaining pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils. There is no substitute for pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils.

This is why I have chosen to use high quality essential oils. That sets the standard for the highest, purest essential oil on the market. With so many different essential oil brands on the market, it’s hard to know which brand is the best. Because I was seeing some results with other brands of essential oils when using them in my practice, I decided to learning more about pure therapeutic grade essential oils and their medicinal benefits on our health.

I researched more about them and discovered a few remarkable things about the special oils:

They test each and every bath of oils….not just once, but 5 different ways!
They follow strict and sustainable growing and harvesting processes.
They source their oils in their prime environment.
The oils are a step above organic, they are Pure Therapeutic Grade with no fillers, artificial ingredients, synthetic chemical substitutes or contaminants of any kind.
No matter what brand of essential oils you choose, it is imperative to choose the best quality! My goal and wish for giving you all this information, is so you will feel empowered, like I do! It is an amazing feeling to have the resources to heal your body and your family!

How Do I Apply Essential Oils?

There are 3 methods of applying essential oils to your body. Remember, when I talk about essential oils and their application techniques, I am ALWAYS referring to therapeutic-grade essential oils.

***Essential oils should not be used in the eyes, inside the ear canal, or in open wounds.***

essential oil massage

1) Topically
Topical application is the process of placing the essential oil on the skin, mouth, hair, nails, or teeth. When you apply the essential oil directly to your body WITHOUT any kind of dilution that is referred to as applying the oil “neat”. Since essential oils are potent, and because essential oils may irritate the skin, they are often diluted with a “carrier oil” such as fractionated coconut oil (this is coconut oil that is always a liquid and never solidifies), jojoba oil, olive oil, almond oil, etc. I always add a carrier oil when using topically. Essential oils are aromatic compounds they will float into the air if not weighted down with a heavier oil and will not be as effective.

Here are a few different ways that you can apply essential oils topically to your body: 

    1.    Direct Application – because essential oils are so potent, more is not always better. To achieve your desired results, 1-3 drops of oil is usually enough. Quick-absorbing areas on your body are the feet, wrists and behind the ears. Always dilute the oils by 15% to 30% when applying to a large area of body. When applying oils to infants and kids, use 1-3 drops of an essential oil to 1 tablespoon of a “carrier oil”.


 2.    Massage – this technique is done by using stimulation of the skin, muscles and connective tissues to promote healing and balance. Use only a light to medium massage stroke UNLESS you are a certified massage therapist. Extreme caution must be used when massaging pregnant women. To create a simple massage oil, combine 2-10 drops of your desired essential oil and blend with 1 tablespoon of a “carrier oil”.

3.    Reflexology – this method is used when applying oils to specific contact points (or nerve endings) on the feet and hands. The oils help remove blockage in the neuroelectrical pathways and/or travel the length of the pathway to get to the particular organ.

4.    Baths – this is one of my favorite ways to get the benefits of a specific essential oil into my system.

2) Aromatic 

Aromatic application involves inhaling the oil directly from the bottle or diffusing it into the air with a diffuser. Inhalation of the oil can be  powerful way to affect memory, hormones, and emotions through the olfactory system. It can also be a very quick and effective way to affect the respiratory system.


  1. Diffusion – this is the easiest way to put a fine mist of the oil into the air for inhalation. The oils will remain suspended for several hours to freshen and improve the quality of air. CAUTION: diffusers that use an intense heat source may alter the chemical makeup of the oil and is typically not recommended. My favorite way to diffuse is using a aromatherapy necklace you can buy one or  learn to make you own.
  2. Direct Inhalation – this is the simplest way to inhale the aroma of the essential oil. Simply hold the opened vial close to your face and inhale. You can also place 1-2 drops of oil on your hands, cup your hands over your mouth and nose, and inhale.

3) Internal 

Internal use is the process of consuming the essential oil into the body. ONLY pure, therapeutic grade essential oils should be used for internal consumption, as other oils on the market may be diluted or processed using harmful chemicals. With my favorite oils, you can be confident that you are using the purest of essential oils. A few essential oils, cannot be taken internally: Cypress, Eucalyptus, Helichrysum, Birch, White Fir and Wintergreen.

  1. Sublingual – this is one of the most effective ways to take an essential oil. You, simply, place a drop or two of an oil under your tongue. Because the blood capillaries are so close to the surface of the tissue under the tongue, many essential oils are able to pass directly into the bloodstream, where they can quickly travel to the different areas of the body where they are needed..
  2. Beverage and Cooking – this is an easy and fun way to take your oils internally. Add a drop or two to some hot tea, milk, or water and drink! Alternately, you can add oils to your recipes to spice them up and add some therapeutic benefits to them.
Stay tuned for more essential oil education!!

Essentials Oils are just for your Massage Therapist. What??

I had someone one tell me that a few weeks ago. So to make it clear Essential Oils are not just for doing massages, they have a lot of everyday uses as well. You can cook them, clean with them, helps  your body support homeostasis, and even use them to bathe with or use them with your cosmetics. They are great for many common health concerns …you name it, there is probably an essential oil that can help you with it. Here are some recipes for everyday uses for essential oils. Many more can be found online and on websites like Pinterest. So, get creative and make something that suits your needs or the needs of your loved ones.


Essential Oil Recipes for Everyday Use



10 drops Rosemary oil

5 drops Lavender oil

5 drops Thyme oil

10 drops Lemon oil

Dilute in 6 teaspoons of carrier oil (we recommend avocado oil or jojoba)

Use this oil as a conditioning treatment, massaging it into the beard and skin before taking a bath/shower.



15 drops Sandalwood oil

10 drops Black Pepper oil

10 drops Roman Chamomile oil

10 drops Lavender

about 15 drops of Fractionated Coconut Oil

Apply topically (Helps your body recover quickly!)



20 drops Peppermint or Ginger essential oil

10 drops Wild Orange essential oil

15 drops Lemon essential oil

Add to 4 oz. bottle, and top with water.  Mist when nausea strikes.

You can also try massaging your earlobes with Ginger.


3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

8 Drops of Essential Oils

Stand or Hand Mixer

A few great essential oils for your hair include: Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Geranium, and Clary Sage. You can use one or all five of the essential oils in your deep conditioner.



7 drops Wild Orange
2 drops Clove
2 drops Rosemary
1 drop Cinnamon essential oil

Mix in 2oz glass spray with distilled water. Sake well before use

Did you know if your body is fighting something, clove oil is very important? One drop of clove oil has just as much antioxidants as 400 lbs of carrots!



16 oz. Spray Bottle

1 1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup distilled water

8 drops of any citrus oil of your choice (could use Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Wild Orange, or a combination)

Add vinegar, water, and essential oil(s) to spray bottle and shake. You are ready to clean!


Lavendar Lemonade Calming Drink

  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 12 cups pure water
  • 1 drop lavender essential oil
  • 6 lemons, peeled and juiced
  • Lavender sprigs for garnish

lavender tea


Mix all ingredients together and chill. Add more water or raw honey if needed.

***The statements and suggestions given here have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am simply sharing ideas and suggestions on how to use essential oils in everyday life. I assume no liability for the way you choose to use essential oils. Use your good judgment and act responsibly.

I would love to share my favorite brand of oils with you

Email Me.. I want to know more about Essential Oils.

The difference between different modalities of massage

As a massage therapist, I find that one of the most popular questions I get is what exactly is the difference between different modalities of massage. So, this is a comprehensive list of all the different types of massages and how they benefit the body.

Swedish Massage – Also known as Relaxation or Western massage, is the most common massage technique in the United States and in many places throughout the world. It is a dynamic therapy of long strokes, friction, and compression, designed to invigorate the body by stimulating the flow of blood to the heart. These strokes help to manipulate the muscles and connective tissues of the body. Therapists apply circular movements on superficial layers of injured tissues using massage lotion or oil to diminish friction on the skin. Patients wear a sheet during the session with only the area being treated on exposed. This is the softest of massage methods and is meant to entice a gentle and relaxing experience and is the best option if a client has never had a massage. The benefits of Swedish massage include integral relaxation, removed waste products from tissues, improved circulation, pain and tension relief, nourished muscles, rehabilitation and overall health maintenance and well being.

Deep Tissue Massage – Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronic aches and pains and contracted areas such as stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.

Some of the same strokes are used as Swedish massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain in order to reach the sub-layer of muscles and the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort and pain. It is important to tell the massage therapist when things hurt and if any soreness or pain you experience is outside your comfort range. There is usually some stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage, but it should subside within a day or so. The massage therapist may recommend applying ice to the area after the massage. Massage therapists may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the deep tissue massage. You may be asked to breathe deeply as the massage therapist works on certain tense areas.

Accupressure – It is a millenary Chinese technique of healing that uses the fingers (and sometimes the toes) to press certain points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the natural self-curative capacity of the human body. When these points (called meridians in Chinese traditional medicine) are pressed, they liberate muscular tension and improve the flow of blood and the body’s life energy (known as “qi”) to help in the healing process. Acupressure shares the same meridian theory with acupuncture. The difference is that an acupuncturist stimulates points by introducing needles, while an acupressurist stimulates the same points using the firm pressure of hands and feet. That is why acupressure is frequently referred as “needleless acupuncture”. The benefits of acupressure include: alleviated headaches, eye strain, sinus problems, neck pain, backaches, arthritis, muscle pains, tension produced by stress, ulcer pain, menstrual cramps, lower backaches, constipation, and indigestion. Acupressure is also useful relieving anxiety and improving sleep thanks to the release of endorphins (corporal chemicals that mitigate pain). In general, it aids to balance the body, improves the resistance to illnesses and promotes good health.

ShiatsuIt is a Japanese system for healing and health maintenance that has been developed for thousands of years. It is based on a combination of acupressure (Shiatsu literally means “finger pressure”) and the traditional massage technique of Japan called “Anma”. Shiatsu uses the acupuncture points or meridians plus the reclined posture of the anma method. Therapists apply pressure with the finger, thumb, palm, elbow, or knee to certain areas on the skin. Benefits of Shiatsu are similar than acupressure. This massage therapy is widely practiced in Japan and its popularity is growing in Western countries. The benefits of this therapy include: relaxation of the body and mind, feeling of weightlessness, pain relief, stress reduction and deep self-reflection.

Hot Stone Massage: Smooth and hot stones are used in this massage to apply pressure and heat to the body. The heat from the stones goes deep in to the muscles of the one receiving the massage and release stress. Stones can also be applied strategically on different parts of the body by the therapist to bring out specific results. Apart from relaxing the body, this massage may also relieves pain is the client is experiencing any. This is very useful for conditions such as back pain, ache, muscle tension, anxiety and stress.

Chair MassageChair massage, as compared to other types of massage therapy, has fast become popular. You can get it while shopping in a mall or traveling by air. Chair massage therapists can also often be found at your local health food store. The massage therapist doesn’t use oil or lotion, and you’re fully clothed during the massage. In addition, the sessions are shorter than traditional massage, usually 20 minutes or less. Chair massage focuses pressure only on the head, neck, shoulders, back, and arms. Chair massage is great when you don’t have time for a traditional massage.
The cost is easy on your wallet, too, usually costing approximately $1 a minute.

Prenatal and Antenatal Massage: Massage during and after the pregnancy was earlier given by midwives. These days it is given by the trained therapists. The massage is modified according to the condition of the pregnant woman. Antenatal massage is very effective for fast restoration of the body of the mother. Massage during pregnancy is useful to relieve pains, cure swelling, remove depression, and to alleviate the mood of the expectant mother.

Lymphatic massage, – Also called lymphatic drainage or manual lymph drainage, is a technique developed in Germany for treatment of lymphedema, an accumulation of fluid that can occur after lymph nodes are removed during surgery, most often a mastectomy for breast cancer. Lymphedema can also be present at birth or develop at puberty or during adulthood. This type, known as primary lymphedema, can affect as many as four limbs and/or other parts of the body. The cause is unknown. Lymphatic massage for conditions other than lymphedema is not medically recommended, although it may be promoted by some therapists.

Chinese Cupping –


Chinese cupping therapy is a process of suctioning or vacuuming sections of the body’s meridian system for the purpose of drawing out toxins, pain management, increasing blood flow, and promoting a healthier flow of chi energies. The massage therapist or acupuncturist will apply massage oil or baby oil to your skin prior to placement of the cups. The air inside each cup is heated with a flame prior to placing the cup upside down directly onto the skin. As a result, a suction sensation occurs and attaches to the body. The cups are left on the body for a few minutes. Welt marks, an effect of the air pressure, could remain on the skin for up to fifteen days following your treatment. Traditional cups used in cupping therapy are made of glass or bamboo, and hollowed out animal horns.

I hope you find this information helpful when choosing your next massage with us at

How learning about Lymphatic Drainage massage can help you take your health into your own hands

First, we will start with a brief introduction to the lymphatic system in the body. The human lymphatic system is, in a sense, the body’s second circulatory system. It is made up of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, lymph (the interstitial fluid drained through the vessels), and lymphocytes (specialized immune cells). The tonsils, adenoids, spleen, and thymus are all part of the lymph system.
Our lymph nodes are soft, small internal structures located in the armpits, groin, and neck, as well as in the center of the chest and abdomen. The lymph nodes produce immune cells that fight infection while filtering lymph fluid to remove foreign material. When bacteria or other immune threats are present in lymph, lymph nodes increase production of infection-fighting white blood cells, which can cause the nodes to swell.

The lymphatic system has no “pump” of its own to move lymph through the system, as the circulatory system has the heart. Rather, bodily movement and breathing function to move liquid lymph through the vessels and filters of the lymph nodes. For people who get too little exercise and eat too much processed food, the lymphatic system can easily be overtaxed – resulting in a body that is susceptible to infection and disease.

Lymphatic massage can actually be a very beneficial home remedy when done properly and can have profound effects on the body. Lymphatic massage has the ability to increase the volume of lymph flow by as much as 20 times the normal flow. This greatly increases the body’s ability to remove toxins and infectious materials.

If you are already a generally healthy person, lymphatic massage can help the body fight colds and shake off fatigue. You can safely perform lymphatic drainage massage on the lymph nodes around your neck, ears, and throat, on the abdomen, and on the legs. Using very gentle pressure, first perform lymph drainage for the ears, on the neck area, then lymphatic breathing for the abdomen and finally, self-lymphatic drainage on the legs. Starting in the region of the neck helps clear the system for the lymph that is pumped to the lymph nodes as you work on the abdomen and legs.
Yoga is a great daily life practice that is a good accessory to lymphatic massage. It is especially good if you already are experiencing symptoms of lymphedema.

You can also hire a professional to give you lymphatic drainage massage. If you choose a knowledgeable practitioner, the result will be a relaxing massage that’s precisely targeted for your needs. If you suffer from long-term lymphedema, or localized swelling related to lymph system blockage, ask a professional’s help first.
If you want a type of treatment that is complimentary to your lifestyle, that can help the body release toxins and create more vitality, then lymphatic massage is a great option for you.


A Swedish Massage


A Swedish Massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West. If it’s your first time or you don’t get massage very often, Swedish massage is going to be the best massage for you. If you desire deeper work and can tolerate more pressure, even momentary discomfort, to get relief from muscle pain, it’s better to book a deep tissue massage. Deep Tissue is just another form of Swedish massage.

Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology as opposed to energy work that is more common in Asian-style massage. Both Swedish massage and physical therapy were pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839)at the University of Stockholm.

Swedish massage techniques include circular pressure applied by the hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending and stretching. Before and during your Swedish massage session, communication is encouraged with your professional massage therapist so that your massage is customized to your specific needs.

Before the massage, the therapist should ask you about any injuries or other conditions that he or she should know about. Things you would want tell a therapist include areas of tightness or pain, allergies, and conditions like pregnancy. You can also tell them up front if you have a preference for light or firm pressure. It’s best not to get a massage if you are ill.