Palms Forward Posture

A simple posture tip is to place your arms at your sides with your palms facing forward. In this position, you will naturally lift your head up and draw your shoulder blades together behind your back. You may notice you are able to breathe easier, there is less compression down on your lungs and diaphragm. During our daily activities it is common to be looking down, this results in tighter muscles of the chest and front of the shoulders. Palms forward posture can provide a gentle stretch of the whole front side of the body, which is good for the nerve and blood supply to the arms and hands. I like to give my massage therapy clients posture awareness tips and little stretches to incorporate into their day. Checking in with your posture and breathing can be a effective way to positively change how your body feels!

img_0982

 

Meditation and Mindfulness

Clients come into my massage clinic with their minds buzzing with thoughts from their busy lives. Prioritizing time to take care of your body is an important first step, the next level is to slow the mind down and allow the nervous system to relax and rejuvenate. There is fascinating new research highlighting the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, we can alter the nervous system connections to our brain! Other benefits include decreasing blood pressure and heart rate, improving immune function, and improving emotional health. During massage therapy treatments I often cue my clients to tune into their breath and guide them through a few simple body awareness exercises.This taps into the potential of mindfulness while receiving a massage. I would recommend giving meditation a try and see how you feel, even a couple of minutes a day can be beneficial!

IMG_1042

 

Power of the breath

When a client lies down on my massage table I observe their breathing patterns as a clue to their stress level. Rapid, shallow breaths are typical of a higher sympathetic nervous system firing, also know as fight or flight mode. I find an effective way to get into a more relaxed state quickly is to invite my client to take longer and deeper breaths. Full inhalations feed the cells oxygen to boost energy levels, while full exhalations release toxins and rejuvenate. Increasing awareness of the breath can be very powerful and enhances the effectiveness of the massage treatment. During a more intense technique, I may ask a client to bring their breath into where my hand is placed on their body. It may not technically be possible to breathe into one’s foot for example, but the imagery helps to mentally let the tension go and relax the overstimulation of the nervous system. Incorporating breath work into a massage brings a mind-body connection that lasts beyond the session and becomes part of my home care recommendations. Mindful breathing is a simple form of meditation and can decrease stress levels significantly, even a couple of minutes a day helps. Now take a moment to focus on your breath…