Category Archives: Stress

The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Children

The holistic benefits of massage are not confined to patients of any particular age. In fact, the ancient practice of massage has been shown to improve overall health in people at every stage of life, regardless of their background, age or occupation.  The medical community is increasingly cognizant of the particular ways children may benefit from massage – how optimizing the body’s performance can help support crucial stages of growth and development. Children who are exposed to massage at an early age may develop an intrinsic appreciation for its capacity to both sooth and strengthen the body.  As a growing number of Canadians succumb to stress (and stress related disease), it is more important than ever to reinforce healthy habits for a more balanced lifestyle – a practice best begun in childhood.  Massage as a therapy is effective for children whether they be infants, preschoolers, teens or even young adults, and making massage therapy a routine in the child’s life can help it to grow into a balanced and mature adult.

Massage Therapy provides endless benefits for your child, some of which include:

Sports Performance and Injury Prevention

Hockey, soccer, football, dance, or gymnastics are just a few of the sports your child may be active in.  Some children are not only involved in one, but multiple sports whether recreational or competitive.  As a parent you might be wondering can a massage help my child enhance their sport performance and allow them to be less susceptible to an injury.  Yes!  Regular massage treatments will allow for an increased blood flow to children’s growing muscles resulting in less muscles tension, an increase in joint range of motion which can decrease overall stiffness, and cause a relaxation response.  All of these benefits are sure to allow for muscles and joints to recover while decreasing post physical activity soreness and preparing your little athlete for the next sport event.

Relief from Stress and Anxiety 

We often think of stress as an adult affliction; but the truth is that even very young children experience stress and anxiety.  Children have their own exposure to stress, which can come from school, family, technology or even playtime with their peers – all are facts of life that most young people must learn to cope with as they progress toward maturity.  This stress can cause imbalance in the immune system and hormonal imbalances as well. Massage therapy can act as a stress buster for children, even when they have passed the stage of infancy.  Massage practiced regularly can help a child reduce stress, which can in turn may help a child to sleep better.

Digestion

Tummy aches is a common complaint among young children – and quite often a source of worry for parents. Although gastroenteritis, over-eating, or a food intolerance are common offenders, constipation is the most likely culprit when it comes to abdominal pain in children.  Rather than relying solely on laxatives or diet, many parents turn to massage therapy to sooth stomach ache due to digestive dysfunction. Gentle abdominal massage may alleviate colic in newborns and can be helpful in addressing other digestive issues that arise as children mature. Under the guidance of a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), parents can learn to administer the technique at home, perhaps avoiding an unnecessary trip to the ER or another missed day of school.

Body Language and self esteem

A massage therapy treatment encourages kids to communicate about what they are feeling.  Many questions are asked through out their treatment such as:  What is causing pain and describe? Too much or too little pressure?  Are you uncomfortable?  What feels good and what doesn’t feel good.  This dialogue helps them develop their ability to say what they want and don’t want happening to their bodies and it helps build confidence in their ability to communicate about themselves.  It is a great skill to develop early on in life.

What happens for a child’s first massage therapy treatment? Usually the child’s parent brings a book and sits in the treatment room with their child during the first appointment.  At the second appointment, the parent most often sits in the waiting area and at some point when the child is comfortable, the parent drops the child off and returns after the appointment is over.  However, any of these situations is fine at any point – the parent can sit in on every session or sit in the waiting area every time. It is up to the child and their consent is respected.

Children Ages 6 and 10 years seem most comfortable with a 30 minute appointment and older children to teens tend to prefer a 45-60 minute treatment, but each child is unique and has different needs and attentions spans.

 

At Core Elements we love treating children and encourage them communicate and grow to love massage, in return, teaching them to take care of them selves!

Many of our RMT’s specialize with children massage if it be for stress, anxiety,  developmental disabilities or sports performance we would be happy to help guide you and your child to the benefits of Massage Therapy.

Call 613-590-9339 or book online at www.orleanscoreelements.com

The CE Team:)

Stress in your jaw can create headaches

Some individuals, when stressed will grind their teeth during their sleep or clench their jaw, either during the day, night or both.

When muscles of the jaw are contracted for this extended period of time, trigger points are created in the muscles.  One of the predictable pain patterns for trigger points in the jaw are headaches.

Self help tips:  temporalis-trigger-points

  • refrain or limit the amount you chew gum. Chewing gum requires you to contract the jaw muscles that can cause them to be overused.  Overused muscles will develop trigger points.  Trigger points will create symptoms of a headache.
  • Stay away from hard candies or nuts as the pressure required for you to chew these foods will create more tension.
  • Speak to your dentist to find out if an appliance will help with your symptoms.
  • Massage therapy to the neck, shoulders, jaw and head are very helpful in relieving symptoms
  • Self massage and warm compresses will reduce tension
  • Meditation for general relaxation will help with overall feelings of stress, which in turn, may reduce the frequency of clenching or grinding.

Stress and Headaches

Headaches develop for a number of reasons.  Some are caused by changes to the atmospheric pressure while others may be caused from hormones, medications, lack of water, or sensitivities to certain foods or beverages; but what about stress?

When people encounter stress whether it is emotional or physical, there are changes that occur to our muscles.  For example, stress may cause a person to hold their shoulders in a shrugged position, as though wearing their shoulders as earrings.  When our muscles are placed in this state they contract more forcefully or constantly than when we are relaxed.   Muscles that are contracted continuously develop stress which in turn develops trigger points.   Trigger points, in simple terms, are irritable spots located in specific areas of our body that cause certain symptoms in predictable locations.   Our trapezius muscle, often referred to as the traps, is a common muscle that develops trigger points when we are stressed.  This muscle lifts our shoulders up.  When trigger points develop in this muscle, symptoms that can develop are headaches at the temples, or base of the scull.    Additional symptoms that may occur from this trigger point are pain behind the eyes, dizziness, neck pain or intolerance to weight being placed on your shoulders.

upper trap trigger point Self massage for upper trap

Massage, heat and stretching can eliminate the trigger points.  Self-massage can also work to treat a trigger point.  Gently sink into your tissues at the top of your shoulder using the pads of your fingers until you find a spot that creates a headache, then hold this pressure at a tolerable pain level and wait until the headache decreases.  If the pain does not decrease in a short time frame, discontinue and apply heat and then gently stretch the muscle.  Or using the pads of your fingers, place the hand over the top of your shoulder in a cupped position, then gently sink into the tissue and pull the tissue towards the front of your body.  Repeat this move a number of times until you feel a softening in the tissue or a decrease in the intensity of the headache.  Stretch upper trap

To stretch the right upper trapezius muscle, place your right hand behind your back, then gently tip your left ear towards your left shoulder and with your left hand place it at the side of your right temple and gently pull your head to the left until you feel a mild discomfort.  A stretch should not be taken into a position that causes pain.  Hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Heat application to upper backThe heat application should be moist heat placed on the top of the shoulders and upper back region.    When placing heat over the shoulders, be careful not to let your head project forward, rather keep the neck in a more upright position.   Leave the heat on the shoulders, back and neck for  approximately 20 minutes.  If heat remains on the area for periods of time longer than 20 minutes, it can cause irritation and increased pain symptoms.

 

Other Lifestyle Changes that Can Help with Stress Management

Below is information I found on a website that has wonderful suggestions on how to manage and/or reduce your stress.

A key component to any stress management program is to incorporate lifestyle changes, not only dietary, but physical and mental/emotional activity as well. Exercise and some form of mental/emotional outlet can significantly reduce the disruptive effects of stress. Your health-care practitioner can help you determine which techniques would work best for you. Listed below are some general suggestions to help you on your way to a more stress-free life.
Relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques help relieve muscle tension, support cardiovascular health, and promote mental and emotional calmness. Examples of relaxation techniques include:

  • Meditation
  • Deep-breathing exercises
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Yoga

 

Physical exercise

Exercise for stress relief can be physical, mental, or spiritual in nature – or a combination of the three, as in the case of yoga. Physical exercise is a very effective way to relieve stress. It stimulates the body to release chemical substances (endorphins) that are similar in nature to opiates and make you feel good. Examples of physical exercise include the following:

  • Organized aerobics
  • Brisk walking
  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Bicycling
  • Stretching exercises
  • Strength-building (weight training, core conditioning, pilates)
  • Swimming
  • Yoga

 

Other stress-relieving ideas

One good way to help manage stress is to simply take time to do things you enjoy, either by yourself or with people you enjoy being with. Some examples include:

  • Acquiring a hobby (cooking, fishing, photography, painting, or playing music, for example)
  • Making time for family activities (game night with the kids or family dinners, for example)
  • Spending time outside (nature walks, outdoor tai-chi, or bird-watching, for example)

Regardless of what your stress-relief program involves, make a commitment to incorporate these changes into your daily routine – for your health and for those you love. This is your life. Live it well.
Getting Extra Help

Practicing self-help techniques for stress management can be very beneficial. However, there may be times when you need additional assistance in dealing with stress. To help determine whether you need additional help, consider the following questions:

Is stress the cause or is it something else? Often, people are quick to blame stress for their fatigue, pain, or eating or sleeping disorders. Be sure to check with your health-care practitioner to rule out any possible physiological reasons for these symptoms before you conclude they are stress-related.

Is it more than stress? Sometimes the mental and emotional problems may be more complicated. Stress can be normal – anxiety and depression can be disease states. If you think you are depressed, or often feel overwhelming panic or anxiety, consult a health-care practitioner who can help you determine the primary cause and make recommendations best-suited for your situation.

https://thorne.com/practitioners/resources/articles/natural-ways-dealing-stress-your-life

Massage Benefits for Stress

Continual or excessive stress can lead to problems involving sleep patterns, headaches, digestive issues, high blood pressure, anxiety, muscle tension and aches, sexual dysfunction and weight gain among others.

Massage Benefits for Stress

Massage is able to relax your muscles by reducing the tension that occurs in them from the stress response.  All muscles hold stress but the ones we feel the most are those muscles that create headaches, or aches and pains.

Massage through different techniques has the ability to restore your body to homeostasis (normal state of health) by activating the parasympathetic system through touch.  The parasympathetic nervous system (also called the rest and digest system) is a system that is activated and slows our heart rate and stimulates digestion.  In order to do this, it shuts off the fight-or-flight system (sympathetic nervous system).  This then allows our body to restore the hormone secretions back to normal.  Massage is shown to restore our homeostasis by:

  • Increasing delta brainwave activity which is linked to sleep and relaxation
  • Increasing dopamine levels which are linked to decreased stress and reduced depression
  • Increasing serotonin levels which is theorized to inhibit pain signals and reduce both stress and depression
  • Reducing cortisol levels –  increased cortisol heightens stress and inhibits the immune system.
  • Reducing norepinephrine and epinephrine which are stress hormones
  • Reducing aldosterone levels – reducing high blood pressure

Massage Therapy Principles and Strategies, Third Edition, Susan G. Salvo, 2007 (90)

Stress Response System – Fight or Flight

When we have stress in our life, our brain receives a signal that registers alarm.  When this alarm bell is rung, there are many actions that take place, one of them being the release of hormones that will create a response.

These hormones are specific in affecting certain aspects of our body to allow us to react to the stressor.  For example, epinephrine and norepinephrine are two hormones that when released increase our heart rate and blood pressure.  Having an increased heart rate and blood pressure allows us to act quickly to avoid an event that we believe to be fatal such as running away from a bear.

Cortisol is another hormone that increases with increased stress.  Cortisol affects sleep patterns, slows wound healing, can decrease cartilage and bone formation, inhibit your immune system, increase fat storage creating weight gain, affect heart function and digestion.

Aldosterone is a hormone needed when you are exercising but if you are dealing with increased emotional and mental stress without physical activity the long term effect will create high blood pressure.

Our stress response system is designed to react to a stressor with an appropriate response but if we have continued stress over time and those events are unresolved, stress related diseases can occur.

Example:

Situation:  Parent worried about adolescent child who comes home 2 hours late.

  1. Anger; first 15 minutes; epinephrine and norepinephrine; results in increase in fight-or-flight response and increased sympathetic activity.
  2. Worry; next 30 minutes; with increase in anxiety, still supporting continuance of hormone response.
  3. Increased worry; next 60 minutes; shift to cortisol release; resulting in inability to sleep
  4. Recurring anger; 15 minutes; epinephrine and norepinephrine with aldosterone increase; results in increased fight-or-flight response and increased sympathetic activity with rise in blood pressure.
  5. Child comes home and is met by an angry and worried parent.
  6. Inability of parent to sleep the rest of the night because of increased cortisol levels.
  7. Fatigue the next day with irritability and a dull headache caused by effects of increased cortisol and aldosterone levels.
  8. Because of increased cortisol and aldosterone levels, parent has suppressed immune function and catches a cold 3 days later.

Mosby’s Essential Sciences for Therapeutic Massage; Sandy Fritz, M.James Grosenbach;2004;(193-196)

Is stress affecting your life?

Were you one of the many that fell to the effects of a flu or cold over the Christmas holidays?  Do you think that your stress levels increased your chances of catching whatever is going around?

What is stress anyway?  I like to have a certain amount of stress in my life to be productive, is that so bad?  Is all stress bad?  What about when you are in a work out and sweating it out big time, doesn’t that cause stress?

We have many different types of stress that can affect our lives.  Our bodies are designed to deal with these stresses but what happens when our stress levels increase?  Can we adapt to the changes?

The answer is yes and no.

Our bodies are designed to deal with stress using a system called the “stress response system”.  This system allows our body to react to all kinds of situations by providing a response.  The system functions with signals that are sent using hormones and nerves.  A signal is sent to the part of your brain that is like the operating and controlling computer of all other systems.  Once this signal is processed in your brain’s computer a response is generated.

There are situations that will require stronger and/or quicker responses and those occasions that will require slower and/or weaker responses. For example if you put your hand on a hot burner on the stove, a signal is sent to your brain, and the stress response system, located there, sends the appropriate response signals to other parts of your body to allow a quick movement to remove your hand from the stove before it gets burned.  This response is not as strong as a response that would be generated if you had seen a bear and feared for your life.

Stress can come in many different forms and create many different reactions in our bodies.  Here are a few examples.

  PHYSICAL: intense exertion, manual labor, lack of sleep, travel

  CHEMICAL: drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and environmental pollutants such as cleaning chemicals or pesticides

  MENTAL: perfectionism, worry, anxiety, long work hours

  EMOTIONAL: anger, guilt, loneliness, sadness, fear

  NUTRITIONAL: food allergies, vitamin and mineral deficiency

  TRAUMATIC: injuries or burns, surgery, illness, infections, extreme temperatures

  PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL: troubled relationships, financial or career pressures, challenges with life goals, spiritual alignment and general state of happiness

Read more:  http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-kinds-of-stress.html#ixzz3OXRy5Do6