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Tight and stiff muscles limit our normal range of movement and for some people a lack of flexibility can be a contributing factor to muscle and joint pain. Lack of flexibility can make simple daily activities like bending down, lifting or walking difficult.
Stiff muscles interfere with proper muscle action. Decreased performance and muscle movement control can occur if the muscles cannot contract and relax efficiently. Short, tight muscles also cause a loss of strength and power during physical activity.
A restriction in blood circulation can result in increased muscle fatigue and inhibit the muscles ability to recover from strenuous activity. Good blood circulation helps muscles receive adequate amounts of oxygen and nutrients.
Tight, stiff muscles have the potential to:
-decrease muscle metabolism
-decrease muscle co-ordination/balance
-decrease power ‘output’
-decrease speed & performance
-increase the risk of injuries
Flexibility is just one of several components of physical fitness that include – strength, endurance, power, speed, balance, co-ordination. Each sport or fitness activity will require different levels of each component.
As we age our flexibility tends to deteriorate. This can be due to physical degeneration and a more sedentary lifestyle, but age should not be a barrier to a fit and active lifestyle. You may need to work at it longer, be more patient for results and take more care when stretching.
Increasing your flexibility improves blood circulation = healthy muscles, increases your range of motion in joints which leads to better balance, making you less susceptible to falls.
Good flexibility is also beneficial for everyday life – putting socks and shoes on, picking up objects, gardening…
Most of us know the benefits associated with stretching regularly, but many of us (including myself!) don’t do any on a regular basis (perhaps when a muscle starts to feel tight/restricted) …”our perceived lack of time andbusynessgetting in the way!”
As well as stretching being incorporated into your exercise plan, stretching can be done anywhere, at any time i.e. at your desk or in front of the TV.
Tai chi, Yoga, Pilates are also all good activities that can help with flexibility & strength. They’re also fun and sociable. There are always local classes available in your area.
My next blog will be all about how to stretch safely so if you would like to keep up to date with our blog make sure you follow us on facebook and keep on eye on the website.
As we now know relaxed muscles aid in stretching so if you need a massage or 2 to help relax those muscles befeore you start to stretch or pick up a class then please do not hisitate to book an appointment with us at Head2Toe Massage in Rangiora. All of our therapists are very knowledageble and will be more than happy to adjust the massage to suit your sports or muscle needs. 03 3130349
Our contribution to the environment!!
We have been using Smartass toilet paper for 2 months now. Made from 100% renewable, fast growing sugarcane & bamboo fibres. We along with our clients are finding it good & effective & soft for our bottom line!!??
Essential Oils can be hugely beneficial used at home in so many ways. Essential oils interact with the body through the nose and skin and even just surrounding yourself with the energetic value of oil has benefits.
Massage – there is nothing better than a good massage to relieve aches & pains & help let go of physical & emotional tension. As well as relieving stress, massage is a great way to administer essential oil onto & into the body. Two of our favourites at Head2Toe Massage are Lavender and Lemongrass. Lavender is good for absolutely everything and is a great oil to be added to others. An effective oil to help alleviate stress & relax those tense muscles we so often see. Lemongrass is effective for both the mind - helping with mental fatigue & the body - helps relieve aches & pains & stimulates circulation .
Vaporisation – This is a great way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils & create an effective antiseptic air freshener and mood enhancer at the same time.
Bath – the ultimate way to relax! As you soak, the pores of your skin open & absorb the essential oils. As your body relaxes & unwinds with the warmth of the water & you start to inhale the wonderful aromas, you begin to feel physically & emotionally revived. Ensure your bath water is not too hot!
Footbath – if a bath is unavailable, a footbath is the next best thing to relax & balance the body. A bowl with warm water, some Epsom salts & a few drops of essential oil, Peppermint is my favourite, can be a great way to end a busy day. Alternatively, for extra benefits, alternating between hot & cold footbaths is a great way to relieve swollen aching feet & tension headaches. The alternating footbaths help polarise the extremities & stimulate reflex points in the feet.
Compress – Compresses are beneficial in both skin care & first aid. Hot compresses are extremely beneficial for chronic & deep muscular pain, while cool compresses are excellent of acute injuries, high temperatures or headaches. Place a cloth in a basin of warm water that has had 3-4 drops of essential oils added, squeeze gently to remove excess water & place onto skin.
Inhalation – This is great if you need a ‘pick me up’ or some relief from the symptoms of a head cold or chest, nasal & sinus congestion. Fill a bowl with very hot water (not boiling) & add 1-2 drops of essential oil, agitate, then lean over the bowl with a towel over your head. Breathe in the steam for 1-2 mins. Eucalyptus is a great oil for the respiratory system
Direct Application – if you burn yourself or receive an insect bite or sting or a pimple appears, a direct application of Lavender or Tea Tree oil may be beneficial. Apply sparely as oils are highly concentrated.
As you can see there are many ways to incorporate essential oils into our daily lives and the list goes on. If you have any questions then feel free to chat to one of our therapists here at Head2toe Massage in Rangiora as we thoroughly enjoy chatting about the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils. If you'd like to book an Aromatherapy Massage then just give us a ring or book online. Remember is you book an aromatherapy massage during the month of August you will automatically go into a draw to win a pack of essential oils. We have 4 unique blends available for you to add to your massage oil.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy uses aromatic plant oils, essential oils, for improving psychological or physical well-being. It can be offered as a complementary therapy or as an alternative medicine.
Aromatherapy massage is massage using essential oils added to the massage oil or lotion.
What is an Essential Oil?
An Essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing aroma compounds from plants and is simply, essential, in the sense that it contains the essence of the plant fragrance. Pure essentials oils are known as the ‘life force of the plant’. Essential oils are approximately 70x more concentrated than the plant or herb they come from.
Essential oils are extracted from leaves, roots, resin, flowers, bark & fruit i.e. root of ginger…flowers of lavender…leaves of rosemary. Whether inhaled or absorbed through the skin, essential oils can promote changes in both the mind and body.
They can affect us emotionally & mentally with their powerful aromas.
The quality of essential oils is upmost. It is important to make sure the oils you purchase are from a reputable retailer & supplier and are pure, natural, authentic oils & not an ‘essence’ or ‘fragrance’.
Prices of essential oils can vary – this depends on availability, harvest & yield & how it is processed.
Oils can be mixed together to form a ‘synergy’ – “the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts”, and are classed in 3 evaporation rates which help to create a balanced & harmonious blend
At Head 2 Toe Massage Therapy North Canterbury…we add the essential oils to a base carrier oil which helps them penetrate into the skin. We like to use 100% pure unrefined cold pressed vegetable, nut or seed oils, which add their own beneficial nutrients and are readily absorbed & nourish the skin…an added bonus!
A word of caution – never apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin unless specified. The only exceptions are Lavender & Tea Tree (commonly used for burns, insect bites or stings). They should never be taken orally.
At Head 2 Toe Massage Therapy we have a selection of aromatherapy blends to add to your massage oil. Which one you choose will depend on the added therapeutic benefits you wish to achieve from your massage. In our reception we use essential oil blends in a vaporiser to create a particular mood, health benefit i.e. to ward off the seasonal nasties, or just to create a beautiful ambience!
When you’re feeling out of ‘sorts’ and life is getting on top of you…book an Aromatherapy Massage with us and get an ultimate mind and body boost. For the month of August 2017 if you book an aromatherapy massage at Head2Toe Massage Rangiora you will be automatically entered into a draw to win a gift of essential oils, including Lavender Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Mandarin Oil and Peppermint Oil.
If you have any questions regarding any of the above then please do not hesitate to contact one of us at Head2Toe on 033130349. Bookings can be done online or over the phone if you’d prefer. We are one of the leading massage clinics in Rangiora and North Canterbury area.
I am passionate about massage & how it can enhance a person's physical & mental wellbeing, Louise.