How Aromatherapy Affects the Mood

Scent is a powerful thing. It has the ability to make us feel sick, energized or even aroused. Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant that can affect our moods, and consequently how we think or feel at any given time.

The inhaled aroma from these “essential” oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing. A form of alternative medicine, aromatherapy is gaining momentum. It is used for a variety of applications, including pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive function.

There are a wide number of essential oils available, each with its own mood effect. Here are some of these oils:

Lavender

If you are having a stressful day, consider lighting a lavender-scented candle. The fragrance of lavender can help release tension in your muscles. It can also help relieve stress and lower your blood pressure. If you have issues with insomnia or relaxing before bed, consider using lotion with a lavender fragrance.

Pine

Many home cleaning products rely on the scent of pine. The scent of pine is energizing and promotes a positive feeling. That may be helpful when you’re not motivated to clean. A spritz of pine-scented room spray may make you feel energized during an afternoon slump.

Grapefruit

Citrus scents, such as grapefruit, can also enhance your energy levels. It’s an easy scent to use because most people find it unoffensive. In addition to using lotion and fragrance with elements of grapefruit, put grapefruit-scented oil on cotton balls and place them strategically throughout your home.

Jasmine

If you would like to get in the mood for romance, surround yourself with jasmine. Place a diffuser filled with jasmine oil in your bedroom to create a subtle fragrance that will arouse your senses. Jasmine is also a common ingredient in many perfumes. It’s sexy and subtle.

Rose

The scent or roses has a calming effect, especially for women. It may be able to balance out hormones, which adds to a feeling of calm. In addition, the scent of roses may put you in the mood for romance.

Surround yourself with specific scents to lift or alter your mood. However, keep in mind that you could be sensitive to certain scents.

Why Choose a Thai Massage

Known as nuat phaen boran in Thailand, Thai massage has largely invaded the world with its unique style of letting people relax. It is also called Thai yoga massage because the therapist uses his or her hands, knees, legs, and feet to move you into a series of yoga-like stretches. Many people say Thai massage is like doing yoga without any work. Muscle compression, joint mobilization, and acupressure are also used during treatment. People describe Thai massage as both relaxing and energizing.

The combination of energetic and physical aspects is what makes Thai Massage unique and so effective. Traditional Thai massage is really a deep, full-body treatment, starting at the feet and progressing up to the head. Using a sequence of gentle, flowing exercise movements, the recipient’s body is moved, loosened and stretched of the joints and the muscles.

Believed to be over 2000 years old, traditional Thai massage is an authentic healing art and unique form of body therapy developed by people who used massage not only as a therapeutic method of healing to treat illnesses, but to maintain health and well-being. Thai massage helps detoxify the body, boosts the immune system and increases blood circulation, which could result to lower blood pressure. It is also good for muscle relaxation to increase the flexibility of your muscles as well as your mobility. It can improve your breathing and your posture and balance. Through Thai massage, body alignments can be corrected and energy blockages can be dissolved. It can also help tone the body, strengthen joints and fight diseases, including chronic joint problems. The very important physical benefit of Thai massage is that it can prevent illnesses, alleviate degenerative diseases and slow down the process of aging.

Aside from the physical benefits, Thai massage has also a mental benefit. It can improve your outlook towards life by building an emotional balance. It can also help you gain mental clarity. And among other benefits, Thai massage reduces and relieves stress and anxiety. Once in awhile, pamper yourself with a Thai massage for you to relieve all the stress in your body!

The Basics of Thai Aromatherapy Massage

Thai aroma massage is a fabulous blend of East and West techniques, comprising of Thai-style deep massage with yoga stretching combined with sophisticated western-style Swedish massage. The massage is received with the client undressed (proper draping ensured) on a comfortable table using aroma oil. This type of massage soothes your body and encourages a peaceful mind.

Aromatherapy massage is a massage therapy but with highly concentrated plant oils, called essential oils, added to the massage oil or lotion. This kind of massage is in fact a combination from all kinds of massage, as the Thai say : a unique mixture of the best from different worlds united in one massage. There are elements of Swedish massage, Indian, Ayurvedic and Thai. The use of aromatherapy to complement a traditional Thai massage combines the usual vigorous stretching and body treatment of a Thai massage with scents and aromas released from candles, oils and other products. These scents stimulate the client further, heightening their sense of relaxation and wellness. Special attention is given to the meridians or ‘energy-channels’ in the body. Because there is a lot of physical touch and stimulation, the muscles, tendons, connective tissues, blood circulation and lymphatic system get activated, blockades can get counterbalanced and the excess lumber can be removed.

The nostrils are attached to a part of the brain called the limbic system. The limbic system controls emotions and influences the nervous system and hormones. When you inhale essential oil molecules, messages are transmitted to the limbic system and affect heart rate, stress level, blood pressure, breathing, digestion and the immune system. The essential oils used are also believed to be absorbed through the skin. The essential oils refer to oils that come from the essence of plants. They are a little oily, very fragrant and usually too concentrated to be used diluted. For this reason essential oils are typically blended with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or grapseed oil, in order to dilute them so they don’t harm the client’s skin. The essential oils used are determined by the massage therapist. They are chosen therapeutically to treat the emotional disorders of the client through the olfactory glands (through smell) and when the fragrant oils are inhaled, a chemical message is sent to the brain which triggers a certain emotional response.

Each of the essential oils have different healing properties. Some have calming and soothing properties while the others may energize you. For example, if you want to have a calming effect from your aromatherapy massage, essential oils such as chamomile, lavender and geranium may be recommended for this purpose. Ylang yang, clary sage, rose and neroli has an uplifting effect while rosemary energizes and cleanses. And for decongesting or detoxifying purposes, you may choose to use eucalyptus, pine or tea tree instead.

Why do people get aromatherapy massages? This is because aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to conditions involving stress or improving emotionally-related conditions such as insomnia, headaches, digestive disorders, premenstrual syndromes and back pains. Studies have shown that self-massage significantly improved symptoms and wellbeing in people with lymphedema. It also slightly reduced limb volume. On a separate case study, sixteen first-time mothers received a 30-minute aromatherapy massage two days after delivery, while 20 mothers received standard postpartum care. The aromatherapy massage group had significantly decreased ratings of postpartum blues and anxiety, and had increased vigor and attachment to their babies. Also, research suggests that patient with cancer, particularly in the palliative care setting, are increasingly using aromatherapy and massage.

Before your first aromatherapy massage session, your massage therapist will conduct an initial consultation with you to learn about your desired outcome. They might ask about the current state of your work life, home life, physical health and mental state to learn about what you need. Remember not to eat a heavy meal before the massage. Following the consultation, the massage therapist will select several essential oils specific to your mental and physical conditions, and blend them into a massage oil to be used during your first massage. Many massage therapists will also give you a small blend of the essential oil to use at home between sessions.

Aromatherapy massage is performed on nude clients; however the therapist will leave the room so that you can undress in privacy. In addition a sheet or towel will be available for you to cover yourself during the massage. The only time the massage therapist will pull back the sheet is to work on a specific body part. If you are uncomfortable, please notify your massage therapist immediately.

However, the aromatherapy massage is not recommended for certain people with infectious skin disease, rash or open wounds, immediately after surgery, immediately after chemotherapy or radiation unless recommended by the doctor and people prone to blood clots. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage. Pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage. And last but not least, the massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.

 

 

Thai Massage for Athletes & Sportspeople

All athletes and sports professionals are always increasingly seeking ways to complement their existing conditioning program. All athletes look for an edge that can help them train more effectively, perform better or overcome injuries quickly. Massage can be a very important part of an athlete’s regimen and Thai Massage is resurfacing as the hottest new trend with life-long benefits mental and physical health, and may be the ultimate sports massage. By understanding the world’s oldest medicine systems, we become better equipped to treat athletic conditions.

Thai massage, also called Thai-Yoga, is rooted in the 7,000-year- old medicine system of Ayurveda and is called as such because it is rooted in yoga. It offers the benefits of an acupressure or deep tissue massage, the stretching and breathing of a yoga class and energetic balancing of the body’s electromagnetic field all in one session.
In other words, Thai massage is like having yoga done to you. The techniques involve stretching, holding and leaning the therapists’ body weight into various parts of the client’s body to improve blood circulation,flexibility and posture. By utilizing feet, elbows, forearms and knees, the therapist broadens the effects of “hands-on- massage”, physical opening often occurs leaving the recipient rejuvenated with an enhanced range of motion.

There is also a core serenity that accompanies this massage modality. Everyone benefits from the subtleties underlying the physical aspects of improved well being. Along with a body that has become lengthened, broadened, and more open with the dynamic moves are the peace and serenity associated with relaxation massage.

Athletes may choose to add Thai massage as pre-event bodywork, essentially reducing anxiety while being properly stretched through the assisted movements. As post-event bodywork, the Thai massage session could be enhanced with a special Thai herbal compress, that helps relieve muscular aches and strain. With relaxing properties from twenty different herbs, the steamed massage compress can stretch ligaments and reduce muscular soreness and joint stiffness.

Stress Is Bad For Health

Stress Is Bad For Health

What is stress? Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional or psychological strain. Stress is your body’s reaction to internal and external stimuli. External stimuli can be things like a new job, a move to a new city, marriage and overworking. Internal stimuli are feelings that come from inside, for example, the need for perfection or the need to please others, fear of change and even, self esteem issues.

However, stress also exists to help you survive. It is the body’s way of preparing you for a potential or existing situation of danger. When a stressful event occurs, the body immediately changes gears, initiating a series of processes designed to help you survive the threatening situation. Glands in your body release the natural steroids such as cortisol that helps the body to process and metabolize sugars, repair tissue damage faster and temporarily stop processes such as digestion and growth; and adrenaline that prepares the body for physical action. When the situation improves, the cortisol and adrenaline levels decrease.

Whatever the triggers may be, stress can produce either negative or positive reaction. An appropriate amount of stress is necessary in our lives, but too much stress can be harmful to our wellbeing and health.

Many people experience continuous stress that rarely seem to let up such as money issues, a job that never ends due to bad management of work-life balance, not having enough hours in the day, emptiness of a monotonous job that you don’t like, relationship matters, constant caregiving, pressures of holiday travel (including shopping, parties and family gatherings), taking on too much responsibilities, striving to be perfect, disorganized clutter or any other form of agitations. Thus, stress can become the rule rather than the exception. When you begin to experience long periods of stress with no real relief, stress hormones cause the body to quickly use up its store of sugar, and when that happens, your metabolism may begin to damage muscle and tissue.

Negative stress takes a huge toll on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. It weakens your immune system and causes perspiration, muscle stiffness, headaches and trouble breathing. Eventually, long term stress can cause bone loss, depression, stomach upsets, high blood pressure, stroke, digestive problems, heart disease, sleeping disorders, hair loss, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, obesity, obsessive-compulsive or anxiety disorder, sexual dysfunction, tooth and gum disease, ulcers and possibly, cancer. It can also cause feelings of distrust, anger, anxiety and fear which in turn can destroy relationships at home and at work.

At the same time, we cannot live healthy lives without some stress because if a person goes too long without a good stress response, his or her body begins to lose ability to properly hanse stressful situations. Therefore, when a stressful event or situation does occur, the body, being out of practice, may release too many stress response hormones and it may not be able to shut them off when it should.

In order to cope with their stress, many people tend to look to things that are not only ineffective, but also unhealthy such as drinking alcohol, living in denial of problems faced, taking drugs, overeating, smoking cigarettes and resorting to angry behavior. Instead, there are more proactive and effective ways of dealing with stress. Try taking naps to recharge your batteries, expressing yourself artistically by diverting your energies into something creative be it acting, playing an instrument, writing poetry or singing, having a good laugh, meditation and best of all, get a massage! Visit a professional massage therapist or ask a friend or partner to give you a back rub. You will feel relaxed immediately and rejuvenated instantaneously. Nothing beats a great body massage after a long, stressful day. Your body, mind and soul will thank you in the long run.

18 Ways To De-stress After Work

Are you stressed out? Do you wake up feeling stressed because you feel that you didn’t sleep enough and have to get up to face the day? Braving the stressful traffic full of noise pollution and time wasted on the road trying to get to work on time after sending your kids off to school. Seeing the pile of work piling up even higher each time on your desk and you are hungry because you either forgot to eat your breakfast (because you woke up late after pressing the snooze button a million times) or you are feeling uninspired to complete the job. You brave the traffic once again to get home and after a stressful day a work, you have even more stress dealing with everything that still needs to get done before the day ends (dinner plans for the family, household chores that need to be completed, fitting in whatever social life you could into your already hectic schedule, more work that you brought home from the office because your deadline is tomorrow etc)

Sounds familiar? More often that not, our daily challenges lead to a certain degree of stress and tension. Hey, RELAX! We don’t have to be perfect or even have to do everything by ourselves either. There are ways to make your life easier. The less stressed you are, the happier you will be. You need to find healthy ways to reduce stress and relax at the end of the day. Some people find moments of solitude very calming, while others seem to unwind better in the company of loved ones. With the right balance of physical activity and mental down time, combined with a healthy diet and a good night’s sleep, you will renew and rejuvenate yourself for the next day which delivers great benefits to your body, mind and soul in the long run.

Here 18 ways to help you de-stress after work :
1. Leave work on time. Do not take your work home with you either.

2. Change out of your work clothes as soon as you get home. This simple step        instantly helps you feel more relaxed because it helps you make a clear transition from work to your more relaxed home persona.

3. Listen to relaxing music. Whether in your car, at work, at home and
anywhere else that you can. It helps ease the transition between work
and home. Singing along to your favorite songs really helps uplift your
moods too!

4. Setting healthy boundaries. Turn off your mobile phone and computer off
after a certain time each night if you can. The explosion of social
media and the rise of smartphones has to led to the invasion of our
private relaxation time and blurred the boundaries between work and
home. Constantly checking on your mobile devices contributes more to
your stress levels. By never taking breaks, constantly staring at a
screen and trying to take in information, the memory process becomes
disrupted, which takes the form of stress, impaired concentration and
even negative emotions such as anger as levels of stress hormones kick
in. Switch it off. It is good for your health and emotional wellbeing.

5. Exercising is a great way to destress and also stay fit & healthy. Be
it joining a gym or exercising at home with a video, the exercise
program can be as simple or as challenging that you make it out to be.
Whatever you decide, know that any form of physical activity that
exercises your whole body is a great way to destress after work and
also connect with friends and other people. Or you could go for a walk,
a bike ride or play ball with the kids. This goes a long way to help
you let go of the day’s stress.

6. Yoga is different from exercise. Yoga involves stretches that can help
you destress your body and relieve any tension that you may have. This
is especially great for people who are not into high impact exercise
but still achieve a lean, toned body.

7. Take a short nap if you are exhausted, but ONLY a short one. Spend a
little time with a cup of tea (drinking something warm like tea or milk
can help com for your body because it acts like an internal massage),
yoga or reading a good book instead. Too much down time might leave you
feeling sluggish and interfere with your normal sleep patterns, which
doesn’t help you reduce stress.

8. Participate in a favorite hobby or activity that you enjoy. Cooking a
favorite meal, doing needlework, playing futsal or going for a movie
could do the trick for you.

9. Include some downtime in your weekly schedule to do whatever sounds fun
at the time or perhaps do nothing at all.

10. Meditate or daydream about your next vacation or that cute person at
work.Take a minute or two for you. When you reflect on your day, focus
on at least one good thing that happened.

11. Take a hot bath before going to bed. Add different scented oils in
your bath to help further destress your mind and body. Popular scented
oils are ylang-ylang, lavender and lemongrass.

12. Hug your partner, your kids, your pets, your neighbors and anyone else
you can find!

13. Practice deep breathing exercises as it has a lot of health benefits
such as stress reduction. For example, before you get out of your car,
sit quietly, close your eyes and take three long full breaths.

14. Eat a quick energy-boosting and satisfying snack like bananas or
almonds.

15. Massage your ears. This is a great and fast way to destress yourself.
It releases endorphins and makes you feel better. In only a few minute
you can feel the effect instantly.

16. Use stress relief products such as squeezing a stress ball. Stress
ball release tensions from your muscles and the squeezing activity
takes your mind off from negative thoughts. You can also use
relaxation mat to destress yourself after a hard day at work.

17. Make dinner the healthiest meal of the day to help refresh and
de-stress your body after work and avoid heavy foods such as nasi
lemak or pizza. These types of foods can weigh you down and not
make you feel your best. Eat something light instead like a fruit
smoothie, tuna salad sandwich or salmon salad.

18. Last but not least, get a massage. A massage at least once a week is a
great way to de-stress after work and if you schedule one at the end
of the work week, that way you will feel relaxed for the weekend. And
Thai Odyssey may just have the perfect kind of massage just for you!

Health Benefits of Thai Massage

Ever been for a Thai massage? If you have, you will know that it is heavenly and oh-so-divine! But if you have never been pampered under a cool, shady banyan tree in a beautiful Buddhist temple or on a beach in Thailand, the good news is NOW you can get your Thai massage fix right here in Malaysia!

Contrary to the popular Swedish massage of the West (which focuses on the physical aspect of the body with the kneading of muscles),Thai Massage addresses and combines techniques usually found isolated in the Western physiotherapies such as Trigger Point Treatments, Myofascial Techniques, Neuro Muscular therapy, and Manual Therapy among others. The combination of energetic and physical aspects is what makes Thai Massage unique and so effective. Traditional Thai massage is a deep, full-body treatment. It starts at the feet and progresses up to the head using a sequence of gentle, flowing exercise movements. The recipient’s body is moved and loosened; the joints and the muscles stretched with some techniques linked to Yoga. This unique type of massage influences the energetic side as well, restoring the flow of energy throughout the body with applied acupressure on the ‘sen’ energy lines of the body, aimed at harmonizing and energizing.

It is this combination of yoga stretching, the calmness of meditation with acupressure, exercise movements and reflexology that makes it a healing art.

Thai massage is worked on a floor with the client dressed in comfortable loose clothing without the use of oil. Using mainly point pressure and muscle stretching, the Thai method not only use hands to free tension stored in the recipient’s body, but the feet, knees and elbows are used as well. The mat allows therapists to use their body weight to massage you, which elevates the uniqueness of the experience.

 

What are the benefits of having a Thai massage? 

If you’ve been stressed at work or have a tight neck from hunching over your laptop, a Thai massage will relieve the pain of stressed and overworked muscles. It also releases build up of lactic acid and toxins.

A Thai massage will increase your range of motion (through combination of assisted stretching and muscle manipulation) and so also prevents injury.

If you’re a sloucher it will improve your posture and body alignment!

Although you may feel sleepy straight after, it actually increases your energy levels and balances the body’s energy pathways. According to traditional Thai medicine the body has 72 000 energy lines of which 10 are considered principal. These energy lines are conduits for the ‘flow of life’ (or ‘vital energy’). Physical benefits aside, a Thai massage aims to unblock these energy paths which promotes both physical and mental wellness.

Having a Thai massage will increase blood circulation and stimulate nerve endings, often resulting in people saying they bodies feel light after a massage.

And the best benefit of all? It’s body toning! ^_^

History Of Thai Massage

  Thai massage and Thai medicine are said to have been practiced for over 2500 years and founded by the legendary Shivago Komarpaj (another variant is Jivaka Kumara Phaccha), who was a personal physician to the Sangha (Buddhist monks), a friend and physician to the Buddha and renowned as a healer in Buddhist tradition. Though there are many influences for Thai medicine from Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian culture, credit is given mostly to Mr Komarpaj. As practiced and taught by Khun Paschal, this therapeutic massage emphasized balancing and strengthening and is based on the concept of vital life force energy. This energy flows along channels in the body called “sen”. “Sen” lines correspond to the meridians of Chinese medicine and the “nadi” of Indian points. These points are addressed specifically by the therapist doing the massage and are pressured, rubbed and stretched through manipulation by the therapists’ feet, knees, elbows and hands.

As a healer, Khun Phaccha’s social role was closer to a religious figure than to a medicinal doctor. As such, the ancient texts (originally on palm leaves) which describe his teachings, as well as the followers who continued in his path were closely associated with life within the temples and centers of Buddhist life. After the invading armies of Burma destroyed Ayutthaya, the capital was moved further south to Bangkok. As soon as the Royal Family settled down in the new Grand Palace, all surviving text and inscriptions referring to the ancient art of massage were summoned and brought to the neighboring temple, Wat Po and were transcribed to stone tablets, where they remain to this day.

Traditional Thai medicine is a natural, holistic approach to health and well-being, developed over thousands of years and this includes proper nutrition, physical exercise, the use of medicinal herbs and therapeutic massage. Besides curing diseases and ailments, the primary goal of traditional Thai medicine is maintaining health and well-being as the ancient Thais live by the saying, “the absence of illness is the best blessing”. Thai massage is one of the four branches of traditional Thai medicine. It is a healing technique that was practiced before doctors. The massage involves point pressure and stretching and it can be done on the floor, a firm mattress or a mat. It is a therapeutic procedure that provides relaxation and restores healthy blood circulation. It also treats energy blockages, weak dysfunctional organs, aches and pains, stress and tension, flexibility, paralysis, nerve problems and postural alignments.

Till this day, Wat Po continues to serve as foundation to the rich history of Thai massage. Wat Po has a very active school located within the temple grounds that serves as a training center for many massage therapists in Thailand.