4 After-Massage Tips To Maintain and Balance Your Body

You know when you need a break. When you are agitated just by someone’s breathing or when you drink your coffee and still find it tasteless. It’s time to take a while off to stretch or just walkabout then get back to work. Better off, leave your work for a day to clear your mind out of some cluttered emotions. Then find a place of relaxation where you are most at peace. While you relax your mind, you may feel that your tensed muscles need some workout too. When you don’t feel like sweating it out on a treadmill, why don’t you go for some passive exercise instead? Make a reservation right away with Thai Odyssey, pamper yourself with the ultimate spa package and let your body be kneaded, stretched and soothed for a rejuvenation session with a Thai Traditional Massage.

After a much-needed flex on your muscles, these are the 4 tips to help you maintain and balance your body:

1. Drink Lots of Water
Since massage promotes lymphatic movement, drinking water and keep yourself hydrated will help move toxins through the kidneys and out of your body. You may feel that you need to use the toilet more often, this is normal as your body is working towards cleansing. Therefore, re-hydration is the key to a healthy body, especially after a soothing massage.

 

2. Take A Hot Shower
A nice warm bath is very soothing after a massage. This is extremely relaxing because if you have any inflammation in the muscles due to stress or strenuous workout, the heat from the water will reduce the sore.

3. Rest
After a good massage, relax and don’t rush. If you can, make sure you have nowhere to go and nothing to do after your massage. Massage is not just work on the body; it is work on the mind too. Massage helps to de-stress and relax you. And a good rest will get your mind and body to rebalance and retune for the next productive day.


4. Eat lightly before and after a massage.

Avoid eating heavy meals before a massage, but don’t come on an empty stomach either. Eating fruits or seeds and nuts are good food choice before a massage. After a massage, try having a vegetarian meal, a warm bowl of vegetable soup or stir-fried vegetables with rice or noodles, these are light meals for easy digestion.

As we work to get things done, our body will need time to rest and rejuvenate. Make time for yourself, get a full body massage and your body will thank you.

Training in Mindfulness Can Reduce Stress and Burnout

What is mindfulness? It is a technique to heighten attention, empathy and other emotions through an awareness of thoughts, external stimuli, or bodily sensations such as breath. Mindfulness originates from Buddhist meditation but was developed for secular use in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme at the University of Massachusetts in the United States.

Teachers were the subjects in a recent study; they were selected due to the nature of their stressful jobs. The study found that those who received the mindfulness training displayed reductions in psychological stress, improvements in classroom organization and increases in self-compassion. In comparison, the group that did not receive the training showed signs of increased stress and burnout over the course of the school year. These results provide objective evidence that MBSR techniques are beneficial to teachers (and possibly for others in high stressful jobs).

Teachers play a critical role in nurturing children’s well-being; however, progress in addressing teaching-related stress has been elusive. Stress and burnout among teachers and in any other profession is a major concern, affecting the quality of work and incurring increased costs in recruiting and sustaining them.

One way to reduce stress is to indulge in a Thai Massage. Thai Massage is the combination of yoga stretching, calmness of meditation, with accupressure, exercise movement and reflexology that makes it a healing art. It is worked on a floor with the client dressed in comfortable loose clothing. Thai method uses mainly point pressure and muscle stretching. And it is not just the hands that are used to free tension stored in the recipient’s body, but the feet and elbows are used as well. It improves a person’s outlook towards life and builds an emotional balance. It also helps with concentration and creativity, and can especially be helpful to gain mental clarity.

Effects of Coconut Oil and Ginger Aromatherapy on Cancer Patients

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. Colorectal cancer better known as colon cancer is the top 2 leading cause of deaths among Malaysians garnering 12.3% according to the 2007 National Cancer Registry record. Patients with colorectal cancer are usually treated with chemotherapy, which reduces the number of blood cells, especially white blood cells, and consequently increases the risk of infections.

In a recent research study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology at Khon Kaen Univesrity, Khon Kaen, Thailand, it has been reported that aromatherapy massage affects the immune system and improves immune function by increasing the numbers of natural killer cells and peripheral blood lymphocytes. Sixty-six patients with colorectal cancer in Phichit Hospital, Thailand, were enrolled in a single-blind, randomized-controlled trial. The intervention consisted of three massage sessions with ginger and coconut oil over a 1-week period. The control group received standard supportive care only. Assessments were conducted at pre-assessment and at the end of one week of massage or standard care. Changes from pre-assessment to the end of treatment were measured in terms of white blood cells, neutrophils, lymphocytes, CD4 and CD8 cells and the CD4/CD8 ratio and also the severity of self-rated symptom scores. The main finding was that after adjusting for pre-assessment values the mean lymphocyte count at the post-assessment was significantly higher in the treatment group than in the control group. The size of this difference suggested that aromatherapy with Thai massage could boost lymphocyte numbers by 11%. The secondary outcomes were that at the post assessment the symptom severity scores for fatigue, presenting symptom, pain and stress were significantly lower in the massage group than in the standard care control group.

 

It can be concluded that aromatherapy with light Thai massage can be beneficial for the immune systems of cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. The combination can help increase the number of lymphocytes and reduce the severity of common symptoms.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has been around for centuries and its practices are believed to be good for the overall health. Let’s take a look at what exactly it does for the body, scientifically speaking:

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Did you know that traditional Thai massage relies heavily on stretching, compression and yoga-like body manipulations? You need not do the yoga poses yourself, but it is your body, mind and soul that will benefit from them. If you are eager to gain from yoga, why not come to our Centre? With the help of a qualified and experienced therapist, you will experience these benefits almost immediately.

Meditation and Stretching Relieves Porst-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates vary from country to country. According to the World Health Organization, which began collecting statistics on the disorder in the 1990s, the incidence can be as low as 0.3% of the population in China or as high as 6.1% in New Zealand. In US more than 7 million adults nationwide (around 2% of the population) are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a typical year and in UK rates are broadly similar.

PTSD is triggered by a traumatic event, can cause flashbacks, anxiety and other symptoms. Sufferers have high levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and unusually low levels of cortisol – two hormones used to regulate the body’s response to stress. Although levels of the stress hormone cortisol typically rise in response to pressure, PTSD patients have abnormally low levels of cortisol and benefit greatly when these levels increase.

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can now be relieved with a combination of meditation and stretching which also normalize stress hormone levels according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. In the said study, twenty-eight nurses from the University of New Mexico Hospital, including 22 experiencing PTSD symptoms, were divided into two groups. One group took 60-minute mind-body sessions where participants performed stretching, balancing and deep breathing exercises while focusing on awareness of their body’s movements, sensations and surroundings – a form of meditation called mindfulness. The control group did not participate in the twice-weekly class. The predominantly female participants underwent blood tests to measure their stress hormone levels and their symptoms judged against a check-list used to diagnose PTSD.

The results showed that among those who were enrolled in the mind-body course, cortisol levels in the blood rose 67% and PTSD check-list scores decreased by 41 %, indicating the individuals were displaying fewer PTSD symptoms. In comparison, the control group had a nearly 4% decline in check-list scores and a 17% increase in blood cortisol levels during the same period.  The study’s lead author, Sang H. Kim, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health said that mind-body exercise offers a low-cost approach that could be used as a complement to traditional psychotherapy or drug treatments.

As we all know, massage relaxes the muscles of the body and increases the cortisol level throughout the session. Our Centers offer you an authentic Thai massage that could surely relieve your stress with each experience. Visit our centers one of these days and experience a relaxing massage the Thai Odyssey way!

Thai Massage Reduces Pain

One of the biggest advantages of Thai massage is that it is extremely useful in strengthening the joints and helps the body fight against chronic joint problems. Moreover, this form of massage is highly effective in treating health troubles such as back pain, neck pain, frozen shoulder, migraines, and knee pain besides slowing down the aging process. On top of that, Thai massage helps in promoting the sense of well-being and vitality. It helps clear and calm the mind so that you can have a positive outlook towards life. Moreover, this kind of massage has the potential of relaxing the soft tissue muscles and help in reducing stress, promoting flexibility and revitalization, and drawing out excess oil and impurities from surface of the skin to promote cell rejuvenation.

A study conducted in Thailand investigates the effects of traditional Thai massage on scapulocostal syndrome (SCS), a musculoskeletal pain syndrome in the posterior shoulder area. It provides evidence that Thai massage reduces pain, muscle tension, and anxiety in patients who had myofascial trigger points in the scapular region.

Twenty patients were chosen aged 18 – 50 who were experiencing “spontaneous scapular pain which lasted 12 weeks” according to the study report.  The researchers were concerned with comparing the effectiveness of Thai massage to physical therapy.  The patients were divided into two groups and their progress was monitored by someone who was not aware of who was receiving which treatment.  Pain scales were used to monitor pain before the study began, during treatment and then long term.

The Thai massage group received 30 minute sessions nine times over the course of three weeks around the scapular area while lying on their side.  The physical therapy group received heat packs and ultrasound treatment for the same amount of time.  Researchers found a significant improvement in the Thai massage group.  Overall, the Thai massage group felt more satisfied. The physical therapy group did, however, notice moderate improvements in their scapular pain.

Can Massage Therapy Help Prevent Stress-Related Obesity?

Often, stress is related to weight gain and obesity. Many people develop cravings for salt, fat, and sugar to counteract life’s stressors and tension. As a result, they gain weight. Weight gain can occur even with a healthy diet, however, in some people who are exposed to stress it can be more severe. In addition, the weight gained is often abdominal fat, which increases the risk of diabetes and heart problems.

The release of cortisol, a major stress hormone, appears to boost abdominal fat and may be the primary connection between stress and weight gain. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid. These hormones, along with insulin, appear to be responsible for stress-related food cravings. Evidence suggests that hormonally induced cravings for “comfort foods” may have a biological benefit for managing stress. Eating comfort foods appears to reduce the negative hormonal and behavioral changes associated with stress, which might lessen the impact of stress on an individual. Carbohydrates in particular may increase levels of tryptophan and large neutral amino acids. This leads to more production of the chemical messenger serotonin, which might improve mood and performance under stress.

There may be a “reward-based stress eating” model. In this theory, stress and tasty, high-caloric foods cause the brain to produce chemicals called endogenous opioids. These neurotransmitters help protect against the harmful effects of stress by slowing activity of a brain process called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, thus weakening the stress response. Repeated stimulation of the reward pathways through stress-induced HPA stimulation, eating tasty food, or both, may lead to changes in the brain that cause compulsive overeating.

Research finds that overeating may be triggered by different stressors in men and women. Women tend to put on extra pounds when dealing with financial and work problems, as well as strained family relationships. Men gain more weight from lack of decision authority at work and difficulty in learning new skills on the job.

Clinical studies show that even a single 1 ½ -hour session of massage therapy can significantly lower heart rate, cortisol levels and insulin levels. Massage therapy helps to bring calmness back into your life. It allows your body to turn off the survival mechanism and begin to relax. Being in this state of deep relaxation, your body is able to restore homeostasis, the balance that your body constantly strives to maintain. Stress is relieved by increasing circulation to the tissues and organs, freeing tension from constricted muscles, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system which aids in digestion and stabilizes heart rhythm and breathing patterns. Massage is thought to increase the flow of endorphins which are neurotransmitters in the brain that have pain relieving properties and produce overall feelings of euphoria. When all these systems are working properly, the body is functioning at its optimum level of wellness.

Receive regular massages that can greatly benefit your health and well being by reducing stress both physically and psychologically at our Centers!

Massage Therapy Facts & Fallacy

Like sleeping in, enjoying a beach day or eating some chocolate, many people look at massage as an indulgent way to treat themselves and de-stress. However, in addition to making you feel good, massage therapy – manipulation of the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments through touch – is also associated with numerous health benefits. Nevertheless, as with other forms of alternative medicine, not all of the health claims made by massage therapy are supported with scientific evidence.

FACT: Massage eases lower back pain – even better than medication.

As many as one-in-four Americans suffer from lower back pain, and it is estimated that 80 percent of Americans experience debilitating lower back pain at least once in their lives. However, long-term use of conventional medical treatments for lower back pain, such as opioid painkillers, can lead to organ damage and even addiction. Massage may represent a safer and more effective lower back pain treatment. A study published in the July 2011 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine found that among 401 middle-aged female participants with chronic lower back pain, those who received a 10-week series of either relaxation massage or structural massage—a more intensive type of massage—experienced less pain and improved functioning compared to those who received only usual care such as painkillers, muscle relaxants and physical therapy.

FALLACY: Massage burns fat.

Although some beauty spas, salons and massage practitioners offer weight loss massage services, massage has not been proven to burn fat or reduce cellulite. Massaging devices sold on TV or over the Internet are similarly ineffective at burning fat. The only safe and proven ways to burn fat are diet and exercise. That said, while massage itself won’t burn fat, a relaxing massage is a healthier alternative to more fattening de-stressors like sweets or alcohol. If getting a massage helps keep you from reaching for that chocolate cake, then by all means, make an appointment!

FACT: Massage reduces post-exercise muscle soreness.

While massage has been used to treat muscle soreness after strain or exercise for thousands of years, the mechanisms behind its effectiveness have not been well understood until now. Research published in Science Translational Medicine in February 2012 examined the effects of a 10-minute massage on the thigh muscles of young, healthy male volunteers who had just completed vigorous exercise to exhaustion. By studying muscle biopsies, scientists found that massage reduced the production of cytokines, pro-inflammatory compounds associated with post-exercise muscle pain. Additionally, massage stimulated mitochondria, energy producers inside of cells responsible for cell function and repair. The study’s authors also noted that massage is a safer way to reduce muscle pain than taking anti-inflammatory medication.

FALLACY: Massage builds muscle tissue.

Unfortunately, this is another myth. You cannot attain hypertrophy, or muscle growth, through massage. It is also untrue that certain forms of massage, such as tapotement can be used to strengthen muscles, as muscle strengthening requires muscle growth. Although massage can help relax tight muscles, only resistance exercise can build muscle. But as with weight loss, getting a massage might indirectly influence muscle growth – you might be encouraged to engage in some muscle-building strength exercises if a massage eases your muscle pain, lower back pain, depression, etc.

To minimize any risks associated with massage, make sure your session is conducted by a certified massage therapist, and get your doctor’s approval prior to getting a massage if you have unexplained pain, blood clots, bone fractures, severe osteoporosis, cancer, burns, open wounds or rheumatoid arthritis, or are pregnant.

Get to Know: Lemongrass

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), a native herb from temperate and warm regions such as India, is widely used in Asian cooking and is an ingredient in many Thai and Vietnamese foods. The use of lemongrass in cooking has become popular in the Caribbean and in the United States for its aromatic citrus flavor with a hint of ginger.

Lemongrass is a member of a species of grass that grows to as high as 1 meter with leaves of 1 to 1.5 centimeters in width that grows from a stalk of about 30 to 80 cm long with bulbous lower end. It is a perennial and tufted grass that is commercially cultivated in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and China. Lemongrass is also cultivated in United States specifically in California and Florida.

Lemongrass oil is extracted by steam distillation. Lemongrass oil has a lemony, sweet smell and is dark yellow to amber and reddish in color, with a watery viscosity. It is also known as ‘choomana poolu’ and is also referred to as ‘Indian Verbena’ or ‘Indian Melissa oil’. Lemongrass oil is a valuable ingredient in cosmetics, perfumes and as fragrances for soaps and insect repellants.

Lemongrass has a wide variety of therapeutic application. It is used as herbal medicine for gastro-intestinal problems such as stomachaches, diarrhea, gas, bowel spasms, vomiting, fever, flu, and headaches. It is taken as a tea preferably 1 cup every 8 hours. It also is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat fevers and infectious illnesses and in Chinese medicine to treat colds and rheumatism. It is also useful with respiratory infections such as sore throats, laryngitis and fever, and helps prevent spreading of infectious diseases.

Lemongrass oil mixed with other essential oils such as coconut oil is used as a liniment for back pains, rheumatism, neuralgia, sprains and other body pains. When it is mixed with essential oils such as lavender or jasmine oil used in baths or vapor scents can revitalize the body and relieve the symptoms of jetlag, headaches, anxiety and stress related exhaustion.

Lemongrass has natural anti-microbial properties, which makes it function as an antiseptic, suitable for use on various types of skin infections, usually as a wash or compress, and is especially effective on ringworm, infected sores, acne and athlete’s foot. It can also be made as an insect repellent. It helps to keep pets clean of fleas, ticks and lice.

These are all the wonderful benefits of lemongrass. You can reap the benefits of lemongrass in our aromatherapy massage.

Proper Nourishment for the Joints

Joints form the connections between bones. They provide support and help you move. Any damage to the joints from disease or injury can interfere with your movement and cause a lot of pain.Many different conditions can lead to painful joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, and other injuries. Joint pain is extremely common. In one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles to your shoulders. As you get older, painful joints become increasingly more common.

When you get an illness such as bronchitis or the flu, you may expect that you will be feeling better and functioning normally within a week or so. A chronic illness, such osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, is different. A chronic illness may never go away and can disrupt your lifestyle in many ways.

Massage therapy may help the body in many ways.  Massage can relax muscle tissue, which may lead to decreased nerve compression, increased joint space, and range of motion. This may lead to reduced pain and improved function. It may also improve circulation, which enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells and helps remove waste products. These circulatory effects of massage may have value in the treatment of some inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis or edema, an excessive accumulation of fluid in body tissues, which may be reduced using manual lymph drainage. The proper attention to a joint area can help to improve the range of motion, reduce painful conditions, and restore its performance.

Proper exercise can help as well. Joint movement encourages lubrication of the joint. The ligaments, tendons and joint capsule are warmed from the movement, which helps to keep these tissues pliable. It’s important to avoid undue stress to your joints. Besides inviting injury, trying to do too much, too soon when working with a stressed, weakened or injured joint can prevent recovery. Be sure to stay within each joint’s limitations when exercising, stretching, or in normal activity. It’s better to go slowly than to risk injury.

Each day brings new challenges to your body’s functions—many that manifest as tensions, aches, pains, and limited ranges of motion. Making sure you get regular bodywork sessions can help your body to overcome many of these challenges and maintain a happier balance, as well as helping to head off some potential problems before they adversely affect you. So contribute to that freedom of movement by maintaining a regular massage schedule. Make your future a healthier one.