Apr 23, 2007

Massage Therapy and a Healthy Heart

By LoriAnn Toplak

An effective way to keep your heart healthy is to reduce your stress level by relaxing. I know what you’re saying, ‘How can I relax when I have to deal with traffic, deadlines, work 12 hours a day, and live in -20 degree weather?’ My stress level just rose when I wrote that sentence!! Take a deep breath and read on. You’re about to become…..RELAXED.

One of the best methods to help you become relaxed is to receive regular massage therapy sessions. Anyone who has had a massage will tell you that it feels great. After a treatment, the stress, tension, aches and pains (sometimes unknown before the massage) melt away leaving a more relaxed and healthy individual. There are, however, many more reasons to receive a massage treatment.

Benefits of Massage Therapy include but are not limited to the following:

•Helps to prevent injuries, and the build-up of stress and tension

•Helps to improve and maintain your posture

•Strengthens your immune system

•Relieves tension, stress and clears your mind

•Relieves stiff joints, and tired, aching feet

•Relieves sore and stiff muscles and speeds up recovery from injuries

•Strengthens muscles and connective tissue

•Helps to keep muscles flexible and pliable

•Relieves restlessness and insomnia

•Promotes a sense of well-being

•Relieves pain

•Helps with digestion and relaxes abdominal muscles

Keys to making sure you are completely relaxed before, during and after your massage:

1. Leave for your appointment with plenty of time to spare. This means take into account traffic, transit delays, and other last minute details that need to be finished before you head out the door. There is a huge difference in how our body responds when we rush to an appointment, compared to when we take our time and arrive relaxed.

2. Arrive early. When you arrive a few minutes early, you have time to sit down, fill out any necessary forms and breathe before the massage. It makes the session much more enjoyable when you are calm from the start.

3. If there is any area of the body you wish to not have treated, notify your therapist right from the start. This way you won’t have to worry about it and you can just enjoy your massage.

4. Inform your therapist if you are too cool or too warm. Your therapist can adjust the temperature to meet your needs by either removing a blanket, or applying a heating pad or table warmer. It is your session and to make the most of it, you should be comfortable.

5. Inform your therapist if the pressure is too hard, or not deep enough. Don’t be shy. Your therapist will appreciate your request and can easily modify the pressure.

6. Drink plenty of water after the session. Massage therapy increases circulation and flushes out lactic acid and toxins. Water aids in the removal of these toxins from the body.

7. Try to schedule enough time after your appointment to leisurely make your way to your next activity. It is not very relaxing if you have to get dressed and run out the door.

8. Take an Epsom salts bath. Adding 1-2 cups to warm bath water helps you to de-stress and sleep soundly!!

Ahhhhhh. Just thinking about it has allowed you to relax. Your heart thanks you.

Since 1997, LoriAnn Toplak has worked as a registered massage therapist, certified acupuncturist, certified infant massage therapist and Indian head massage therapist. LoriAnn and her husband Alex, a certified reflexologist and hot stone massage practitioner, own 'The Grove Health Clinic in Toronto, ON. For more information, please visit: http://www.thegrovehealthclinic.com In addition to reducing physical and mental stress, they help others decrease financial strain by promoting financial freedom events. For more information, visit http://www.money4you.com

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