Improve Your Healing Experience

Below you will find articles and a list of holistic practitioners to aid in your overall wellbeing.

Massage Articles

  • Relaxation
    by Nicky LaFleur

    “Hmmm, I feel so relaxed!”….clients often tell me this after they receive a massage. What do they mean? Do their bodies feel good, their minds clear and free of worry, or their hearts at ease? A massage experience can certainly bring about these sensations, but what is happening inside ourselves when we lie on a table or a mat for an hour?

    As you lie down for a massage, you are already signaling your body that a shift is occurring. Receiving a massage helps activate the part of our nervous system that is responsible for: decreasing heart rate, decreasing respiratory rate, relaxing muscles, dilating blood vessels of the skin and limbs (allowing more blood to circulate to the periphery), normalizing blood sugar, aiding digestion, and repairing tissue. The opposite end of this spectrum is known as the fight or flight response, which is frequently triggered by daily stress.

    A variety of massage strokes enhances the relaxation response. Gentle flowing massage strokes help balance circulation. Targeted deep tissue techniques relieve muscular tension. And specific acupressure points relieve mental and emotional stress.

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  • Deeper Work
    by Nicky LaFleur

    Deep tissue massage includes any technique that goes beyond circulation and relaxation strokes and affects muscle physiology. Deep tissue techniques are generally comprised of trigger point therapy, muscle compression and muscle stripping, and myofascial release.

    A trigger point is essentially a microscopic muscle that is acutely sensitive to pressure. Trigger points can cause pain locally or in other parts of the body according to a specific, clinically established pattern; for example, trigger points in the shoulder muscles can be responsible for head and neck pain. Trigger points can be eliminated with direct and sustained pressure.

    Muscle compression and muscle stripping can be very effective when muscles have become tight from overexertion and repetitive use. Muscle tightness often comes from metabolic waste buildup (mostly lactic acid) in the muscle cells. Muscle compressions are like wringing out a sponge, ridding that area of metabolic waste; releasing pressure encourages fresh blood flow, which helps in tissue repair. Similarly, muscle stripping—which consists of slow deep strokes, often performed with the forearm—is like squeezing a tube in order to remove metabolic waste buildup.

    Our muscles are held in place in part by layers of tissue call fascia. You may have seen this tissue on a raw piece of chicken: it’s the part that looks like Saran wrap. With prolonged stress on a muscle group (from poor posture, for instance), fascia tends to tighten and restrict range of motion. Deep compression and deep strokes allow the fascia to soften, restoring flexibility.

    Barefoot Deep Tissue is an ideal method for applying these techniques. The strength of the foot allows the pressure to be applied gently and gradually, then maintained for extended periods of time so that the muscle can fully relax.

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drawing of woman getting a massage

Download the PDF:

“9 Ways to Find the Best Massage Therapist For You” by Nicky LaFleur.


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