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Health

How Ayurveda Can Help Balance Your Health

By Health No Comments

Connect the mind, body, and spirit.

Conventional medical practices aren’t for everyone — let’s face it. Fortunately, for those who would like to opt for alternative solutions, there are many holistic practices available in our budding world.

Ayurveda constitutes as an alternative medicine practice with roots in ancient India.

Considered one of the world’s oldest whole-body or holistic healing systems, this practice encourages a natural equilibrium and balance throughout the body. This, in turn, promotes a connection and cooperation between all parts including the mind, the body, and the soul.

In this article, we will explain in greater depth about Ayurveda, as well as clarify how the practice works and what its primary principles are.

 

What Is Ayurveda?

Before modern medicine, people had to find ways to keep the body in balance. Although now science tells us there is a connection between the mind and body, Ayurveda knew this thousand of years ago.

Ayurveda stands for “the knowledge or science of life”. Veda means knowledge or science, while ayur represents the concept of life in the ancient language of Sanskrit.

This alternative medicine practice essentially was founded upon two concepts: that the mind and body are undoubtedly connected, and that utilizing the mind is the most powerful way for transforming the body.

The practice of Ayurveda categorizes individuals into a mind-body type, known as a dosha. It is possible to determine your dosha through a simple quiz. This quiz asks a series of questions pertaining to mental and emotional characteristics, as well as physical.

Each dosha has an ideal lifestyle that supports its manner of being. Discovering your dosha and implementing supportive qualities into your lifestyle is said to better balance the body and produce equilibrium in a holistic manner.

 

Understanding the Three Doshas

Doshas provide an inner glimpse into the unique makeup of you. In Ayurvedic beliefs, understanding the doshas enables an individual to adjust lifestyle choices spanning from the diet, to exercise, to an ideal temperature. By doing so, the body naturally heals itself and supports the individual in return. Pretty incredible, right?

There are three main doshas and in this section, we go into detail about each of them. This section is not designed to assign any specific dosha to a person, but you may notice that one of the categories is more relatable than another. Normally, everyone possesses aspects from each of the doshas but there tends to be one that is more predominant than the others. Additionally, each dosha is granted a series of elements that best represents it.

 

The First Dosha – Vata

Represented by the elements of air and space, those with the Vata dosha tend to have qualities that also parallel these elements. Vata is said to govern the qualities of movement and communication.

Characteristics:

  • Relates to flexibility and movement
  • Governs body functions such as pulsation of the heart, the flow of the breath, and communication between the nervous system and mind
  • Light, cold, dry, rough
  • Subtle, mobile, clear

What is said to disrupt Vata dosha?

  • Staying up too late
  • Grief and fear
  • Eating more food too soon after a prior meal

An imbalance is said to produce a greater likelihood of skin problems, arthritis, heart disease, and asthma. Additionally, a potential for increased fear, isolation, anxiety, and exhaustion.

 

The Second Dosha – Pitta

The pitta dosha is represented by the elements of water and fire. Pitta is said to govern the primary functions of transformation and digestion.

Characteristics:

  • Relates to understanding and intelligence
  • Connected with the digestion of all things: thoughts, emotions, foods, experiences
  • Governs the temperature of the body, the light of understanding, and metabolism
  • Hot, sharp, light
  • Spreading, liquid, oily

What is said to disrupt pitta dosha?

  • Spending too much time in the sun
  • Consuming spicy and sour foods

An imbalance is said to produce a greater likelihood of infections, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, and high blood pressure. Additionally, a potential for increased jealousy, criticism, frustration, and anger.

 

The Third Dosha – Kapha

Kapha dosha is represented by the elements of earth and water. This dosha is said to have the primary functions of lubrication, cohesiveness, and structure.

Characteristics:

  • Relates to structure and cohesiveness amongst living things
  • Governs the hydrations of cells, the maintenance of immunity, the protection of tissues, and moisturization of the skin
  • Oily, smooth, heavy, slow, cool
  • Dense, soft, cloudy (sticky), stable

What is said to disrupt Kapha dosha?

  • Consuming too many sweet foods
  • Drinking or eating substances with too much water or salt
  • Sleeping during the day

An imbalance is said to produce a greater likelihood of breathing disorders, asthma, obesity, nausea after eating, cancer, and diabetes. Additionally, a potential for increased greed, attachment, resistance to change, lethargy, possessiveness, and stubbornness.

 

How to Best Support Your Own Unique Dosha

Once you have the information pertaining to your dosha available to you, it is time to determine how you can best support this unique makeup of your being.

Because Ayurveda is a holistic, and therefore wholesome approach to life, the way one goes about implementing its principles into daily life is also well-rounded.

 

Here are ways to support your dosha to live a more balanced life:

  1. Eat a diverse diet that is not only colorful but also inclusive of many different flavors. A well-balanced Ayurvedic diet includes the principle of the “six tastes”. The inclusion of all of these flavors is believed to provide the body with all of the nutrients and diversity it needs. These six tastes include:
  • Pungent, bitter, sour, sweet, salty, and astringent.
  1. Improve your digestive ability by implementing certain eating habits and practices that can better support balance. When eating food, try to:
  • Eat with a calm state of mind and in a peaceful environment (i.e. not while under distress.)
  • Eat at a balanced pace (i.e. not too fast, not too slow.)
  • Hydrate the body and encourage digestion by consuming a mix of hot water and ginger throughout the day.
  • Only eat when you actually feel hungry (i.e. do not force yourself to eat food.)
  • Eat while seated at a table and not focused on or distracted by other activities. Do not eat while driving, while watching TV, while working on your computer, or while utilizing your cellular device.
  • Keep raw food consumption down to a minimum for it can overwork the digestive system.
  1. Get enough sleep every single night. Try to fall asleep and wake up at similar hours each day to encourage a stable body clock and sleep cycle. A night of restful sleep is:
  • Between six to eight hours in length.
  • Not induced by alcohol or pharmaceuticals, rather it naturally occurs once the lights are turned off and the atmosphere is calm and distraction-free.
  • Supportive of healing and complete rejuvenation.
  1. Complete some form of exercise daily and really tune into your body. Throughout life, your body will send signals to your brain as to whether it feels good or bad about a specific situation. Listen to this intuitive inner knowing and proceed after taking it into consideration. If something does not feel right, honor the message that your body is sending you and move forth accordingly.

 

Our Final Words on How Ayurveda Can Help Balance Your Health

It is important to note that while there are some state-approved schools of Ayurveda in the United States, Ayurvedic products are not FDA-approved and some are even banned from country entrance due to contamination with toxins and heavy metals.

If you decide to proceed with Ayurvedic treatment and enlist in the assistance of an Ayurveda specialist, they will create a designated treatment plan that is best suited to your own individual set of symptoms and conditions.

While Ayurveda’s primary principles extend further beyond the ones we have mentioned here, this article has covered most of the major elements that make up the holistic, whole-body practice.

Understanding your body’s unique dosha or profile can assist you in making decisions related to health and lifestyle, but aside from producing these adjustments, the most important shifts are to practice healthy digestion practices, get enough sleep daily, and exercise regularly.

Have you been searching for a holistic health school in San Diego or an affordable school of holistic health? Are you interested in becoming a holistic health practitioner?

ICOHS is a non-profit vocational school offering a holistic health practitioner program to those who desire this profession as their career path. Our educators are dedicated to student success and the encouragement of pursuing passions and fulfilling goals.

Reach out today to get started and request more information.

 

Be Your Own Boss

10 Steps to Open and Run a Spa Business

By Business, Health No Comments

Plan, create, and put into action!

Determined to run your own spa business? It can feel a little overwhelming to imagine everything that needs to be done so that you can finally open your doors to the public. As with many tasks that seem larger than life, planning is required. Often times, brilliant ideas begin with creation, a passion or purpose that desires fulfillment. As much as dreaming and developing ideas is an integral part of starting a business, it is just the beginning. Next, some more concrete plans need to be set into place. Once plans are generated, the final phase is putting those plans into action.

In this article, we will run you through ten steps that can help you open and run a spa business without feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to begin. We take you from the initial process of creating ideas, all the way to the final steps of putting your plans into action and actually getting your company up and running.

These 10 Steps Can Help You Open and Run a Spa Business

As promised, here are the ten steps you can follow if you are in need of some guidance and direction or do not know where to begin. Don’t fret about a dream or idea is too large. Breaking the process down into easy-to-follow bits helps make the bigger picture more tangible.

Get clear on your vision and determine your ‘why’

Before you begin with the actual arrangements to get a spa going, it is important to get clear on your vision and determine your reason ‘why.’ By clearly defining why you are opening a business, you can enter into this new adventure with passion and interest, rather than merely opening a company to make money.

Clients can definitely tell when someone is in business for the wrong reasons. Additionally, by defining your ‘why,’ there is a great chance you will find making the necessary preparations to be even easier and procrastination might become less of weight dragging timelines down.

 

Decide on your services or specializations and create a menu

When opening a spa, it is important to keep in mind exactly the types of services you intend to provide, along with any specializations. If you choose services that are unique enough, you can also specifically use them to market your business.

Be sure to create a menu that makes it simple for clients to decide which services they would like to book, along with transparent, clearly defined pricing. Customers appreciate honesty and transparency, so the more this can be present, the better.

 

Seek out investment or arrange personal investment

Opening any business requires money. Once you know your reason for opening up a spa business and have decided upon which services to provide or even if you would like to fulfill a niche or offer specializations, it is time to really get the ball rolling by seeking out investment.

There are two primary ways to go about coming up with the money to open a company. Either you can search for outside or bank investment, or you can arrange personal investment, which is money you have saved up yourself. Regardless, speak with a financial advisor and be sure you are certain how much initial funding you will need in order to get your spa doors open to the public.

 

Scout out the competition and decide on a location accordingly

Once the investment has been secured, it is time to make everything even more concrete by deciding on a location for the storefront. It is ideal to choose a location that is well-situated but also does not exist within too close of a proximity to the neighboring competition.

Scout out the competition and research some business statistics on the area. Settle with deciding between two or three different possibilities. In the end, you will need to agree on just one. Once the location for the spa has been determined, sign a lease and get ready to set up shop.

 

Begin the interview process and employ qualified professionals

With all good businesses come outstanding, qualified employees. A proper, in-depth interview procedure is necessary to ensure the quality of your professionals, as well as their skill-sets and abilities. If you have settled upon any niche or specialized skills, you will need to also find qualified professionals to execute these services.

Research wages and salaries for such occupations and pay your employees fairly. Excellent treatment and proper compensation of staff leads to happier workers and in return satisfied customers. You want to make your spa is a place that not only clients enjoy showing up to, but your employees as well.

 

Complete any remodeling and design the aesthetic of the spa

Now that many of the vital details and elements of opening a spa are set into place, you will want to begin remodeling and designing the location. Decide upon an aesthetic, bearing in mind which energy you would like to emit when a client steps foot through the door.

In general, spas should present a relaxing, tranquil, and calming environment where clients can arrive to truly unwind and decompress. This peaceful vibe can be accomplished by selecting earth tone colors, a clean and sleek interior, and a warm and welcoming linens and accessories. Hire an interior design specialist if need be, which can help give your company achieve an even more professional look.

 

Buy all the needed equipment

Once everything has been designed, you will want to purchase all of the needed equipment for completing the services that are featured on the business menu. Create a list of which devices or machines are required for each room, along with keeping a steady stock of the spa essentials such as hygiene products, towels, robes, oil, and more.

 

Come up with a marketing plan or hire marketing experts

You have gotten everything together to get your spa doors open but you are unsure of how to get clients coming in. In this modern day-and-age, marketing is a massive aspect of running any successful business. Not only are the original marketing techniques essential, so are digital marketing tactics.

Upon opening your spa, you will also need to have social media pages and a website ready. Hiring a marketing expert for digital marketing, too, can assist in bringing through more customers. A solid digital marketing plan is most important at the very beginning of opening your business because if visiting clients are happy with the service provided, they will start spreading the news through word of mouth to their friends.

As the news of your excellent spa spreads, appointments will get booked up and you can place less emphasis upon a digital marketing plan. Additionally, be sure to have a strong, memorable logo, along with business cards and deals of the week to entice new patrons

 

Get all the final touches in order to begin operating

Any other aspects that have not yet been tackled? Now is the time to get all the final touches squared away so that you can begin operating the spa. Cross your t’s and dot your I’s; you will want to make certain that nothing got skipped over as to leave a lasting impression upon future clients.

Has a schedule for the employees been devised? Do you have enough individuals hired? Is your menu exactly as you want it or do some alterations need to be made? Do you have enough supplies to last you until the next shipment? Are your website and social media platforms up and running? Create a to-do checklist and run through it a few times just to be sure.

 

Launch an opening party and get ready to open your doors

Once all the final touches have been made, it is time to initiate the final, and possibly one of the most important steps of opening a spa; the launch party! A launch party, although it can cost some money, is one of the major ways to bring in an initial influx of clients to your location.

Inviting an entire room full of people to take a look at your spa and get a feel for it themselves, can be an immensely beneficial tactic. Furthermore, be sure to offer attendees and first-time customers an incentive to book an appointment. The best way to do this is to create limited-time offers for first-time clients only, where they either receive a free additional service or a discounted service.

 

Finals Thoughts on the 10 Steps to Open and Run a Spa

Although the entire process of opening a spa may appear daunting at first, once broken down into steps, there is a lot of work to be done but somehow the tasks appear more manageable. Running a business is never easy, but if you are passionate about the bodywork industry and are dedicated to running a spa, the accomplishment will be unbelievably rewarding.

Interested in studying Massage Therapy or continuing your education in Holistic Studies? Searching for massage schools or career colleges in San Diego? ICOHS is a non-profit vocational school offering programs to become a Professional Massage Therapist or a Holistic Health Practitioner, as well as providing a continuing education option for those involved in Holistic Studies already.

Ready to get on board and work alongside dedicated, passionate educators who are determined to support their students and watch them succeed? Reach out to us today and request more information.

Lymphatic Massage at ICOHS College

What Is a Lymphatic Drainage Massage? [Info & Benefits]

By Community, Fitness, Health No Comments

A cleansing experience that promotes wellness and relaxation

Although massage therapy is a familiar practice amongst most individuals, in particular, those interested in more holistic ways of living, the term lymphatic drainage massage may not seem as intuitive. This immensely cleansing form of massage therapy is commended for its plethora of voiced benefits which help to stimulate the body’s natural lymphatic system.

But what on Earth is a lymphatic system and what is it responsible for? Why are lymphatic drainage massages even performed? In this article, we will be answering all of these burning questions.

What Is the Lymphatic System?

In order to better understand what a lymphatic drainage massage is and what it does, first one must conceptualize the lymphatic system and its responsibilities throughout the body.

The word lymph in Latin actually means “clear water”, so it comes as no surprise that the lymphatic system contains lymph fluid that is carried throughout the lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels of the body. Lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes are two parts that make up a bigger system, known as the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system has a few major duties including helping large molecules such as lipids and hormones enter into the blood, returning fluid back to the heart, and surveilling the immune system which in turn prevents infection and other sicknesses from entering as easily.

With this all being said, it is quite obvious that the lymphatic system is definitely an important one.

 

All About the Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage is much as its name implies; this form of massage therapy stimulates the lymphatic system, encouraging it to work faster. This system moves lymph fluid throughout the entire body, dispelling any toxins that may have accumulated within the cells.

The body naturally undergoes two processes of circulation, first arterial and then venous, and the specialized stimulation that is generated by a lymphatic drainage massage mimics circulation, acting as a third wave.

As the body is once more awakened, so are the lymph vessels and nodes, and the result is a natural drainage that takes place after the massage. Why does this become beneficial? Certain medical conditions, in particular, can generate a buildup of lymph fluid, so draining this liquid by means of a specialized massage technique is said to be helpful.

 

The Potential Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

While many do claim that lymphatic drainage massage possesses certain key benefits for the body, it is important to remember that actual scientific evidence of the efficacy of manual lymphatic drainage massage is limited. In fact, an article published in 2009 in The Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy states, “manual lymphatic drainage techniques remain a clinical art founded upon hypotheses, theory, and preliminary evidence.”

With this in mind, the benefits we are about to cover are widely based on the personal experiences of those who have received lymphatic drainage massage or upon hypotheses, theories, and preliminary evidence.

Lymphatic drainage massage and other decongestive lymphatic therapies (DLTs) are said to reduce swelling and increase circulation throughout the body, primarily any systems connected with the lymphatic system.

Some lymphatic drainage massage therapists also suggest that this technique decreases the appearance of not only swelling but also cellulite, so aside from the claimed health advantages, this style of massage therapy also may possess a more aesthetic purpose.

Although evidence is limited, the following conditions may benefit from lymphatic drainage massage procedures:

Stress and insomnia
Any digestive challenges
Fibromyalgia and arthritis
Pain and swelling, in addition to migraines
Lymphedema
Various skin disorders

Be sure to always communicate confidently and clearly with your massage professional so that they understand your intentions in receiving lymphatic drainage massage, as well as any medical conditions you may possess. This will help to make sure you get the most out of your treatment.

 

Do Not Opt for Lymphatic Drainage Massage If…

If you have been diagnosed with any medical condition, it is extremely important to consult with your doctor or medical professional before scheduling a lymphatic drainage massage appointment. Those with congestive heart failure, circulatory problems, blood clots, kidney challenges, or any type of infection should NOT opt for lymphatic drainage massages because this could potentially become dangerous.

Preparing for a Lymphatic Drainage Massage? Keep This in Mind…

If you are in favor of lymphatic drainage massage and its purported benefits, you may have gone forth with setting up an appointment to experience this form of bodywork for yourself.

Whether this is the case, or if you intend to soon arrange a lymphatic drainage massage, there are a few tips you may want to keep in mind prior to your appointment:

Drink plenty of water during the hours leading up to your scheduled massage appointment. Massage can generate dehydration, so you will want to also consume H2O afterward to replenish any fluids lost throughout the treatment. Additionally, drinking the appropriate amount of water daily encourages the lymphatic system to work accordingly, greater promoting self-healing.
Lymphatic drainage massage can leave you feeling quite tired, so try and schedule your appointment on a day where you can take it easy post-treatment. Get some rest, have a nap, and maybe even hit the hay early that day.
Depending on what is within your comfort zone, try to wear as few articles of clothing as possible during your lymphatic drainage massage because your massage therapist will need to be able to easily access the majority of your body during the therapy.

Final Thoughts on What a Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Now that you know more about lymphatic drainage massage you can decide whether or not this would be the right massage therapy technique for you. Although there is a loyal fanbase that stands behind regularly receiving lymphatic drainage massage treatments, this style of massage therapy certainly is not tailored to all.

While there are available methods of performing lymphatic drainage massage on yourself, it is always recommended to schedule an appointment with a professional massage therapist that specializes in this technique, as to ensure the results you desire are accomplished. Normally upon meeting with a professional, they will inquire about your medical history and ask for your reasons for requesting a lymphatic drainage massage. From there, the two of you can devise a plan and schedule together that would be best suited to your personal needs.

Interested in studying massage or holistic health? Searching for massage schools in San Diego? ICOHS is a non-profit vocational college offering programs to become either a holistic health practitioner or a professional massage therapist.

Our dedicated and passionate educators create a personalized experience for each student, helping them to reach their career goals. Reach out today and request more information.

Hot Stone Massage Therapy

Hot Stone Therapy: Understanding This Massage Practice

By Fitness, Health No Comments

A Quintessential Complement to a Relaxing Massage

There are many known benefits of massage therapy, from improved circulation and reduced stress to stimulation of the lymphatic system and increased joint flexibility. Many medical resources encourage readers to get massages, including Mayo Clinic and WebMD, and the major reason why is because people seem to be noticing a difference.

As the practice of massage continues to expand throughout the Western world, many variations of the treatment have come to light. From deep tissue and sports massage to Swedish and Thai massage to craniosacral therapy, there is an extensive number of techniques along with qualified specialists who are skilled at their respective styles of bodywork.

One form of massage therapy, known as hot stone therapy, has become a restorative, relaxing, and rejuvenating favorite. In order to encourage a better understanding of this massage practice, in this article we discuss hot stone therapy, explaining what exactly it consists of, along with the potential benefits of this treatment.

What Is Hot Stone Therapy?

Hot stone therapy is the practice of using heat-retaining flat rocks, typically basalt, on specific regions of the body (often referred to as acupressure points.) Hot stone therapy often begins with deep tissue massage (such as Swedish massage) to loosen tight areas of the body. Then, flat river stones that have been warmed between 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit are aligned along the spine, palms of the hands, bottoms of the feet, and close to the toes. Your massage therapist may place them in other regions of the body as well, but usually, the spine is the most common region of application.

The stones are warmed in a specialized stone heater, which looks much like a crockpot. This is done to better control the temperature of the rocks in order to prevent any chances of burns or scalding.

Massage professionals do not use hot plates, microwaves, or ovens to warm the rocks, so to avoid injury, be sure to look out for any mispractice that might take place amongst inexperienced massage therapists.

Hot Stone Therapy: The Benefits

Due to the immensely relaxing nature of hot stone therapy, it possesses a number of benefits. The primary way in which this treatment helps is by loosening muscles, which is ideal for those who have aches and pains on the body.

Although many do receive hot stone therapy because of the benefits it might provide, their accounts of success are more so personal for research is seriously lacking. That is not to say, however, that it does not exist.

Moderate-pressure massage, which hot stone therapy does qualify as has been said to assist with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. A 2013 study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice reported that participants with arthritis felt less pain after a mere month of medium pressure massage.

In addition to physical pain, hot stone massage is also at times linked to potentially reduced stress, and in turn, reduced anxiety and an overall better mood. A study published Bowling Green State University in 1997 found that those who received a 15-minute chair massage during a break were reportedly less stressed than those who did not and merely rested on their break.

Although related specifically to the broad description of massage, a 2014 study published in the journal Sleep Science found that postmenopausal women who were dealing with difficult insomnia slept better after receiving a massage, expressing it is a promising solution for such applications.

In addition to potentially reducing stress or anxiety, improving insomnia, and lessening various aches and pains, receiving a hot stone massage is a pleasant experience, particularly for those who enjoy receiving rejuvenating bodywork and find it to be effective.

While these studies mentioned are all a start, they do not fully confirm that hot stone therapy is a treatment for any of the above referenced medical conditions. As always, communicate with your doctor first if you determine that massage or hot stone therapy is the right option for your medical needs.

 

How to Practice Hot Stone Therapy

The process of application throughout a hot stone therapy appointment is fairly straight forward and normally unfolds in the following steps:

You will arrive at your appointment and the receptionist will have you fill out a health questionnaire if you are a first-time client.

Someone will guide you into a dressing room where you can prepare for your massage by removing your garments. Begin to relax already, the massage will be soon.

Your massage therapist will greet you and have you get situated comfortably on the massage table.

The massage therapist will have heated basalt or smooth stones in a specialized stone warmer which will heat the rocks to 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit typically.

Your massage therapist will likely begin the massage by performing some type of deep tissue technique, for instance, Swedish massage. They may then refer to an anatomy chart for stone placement or simply place the stones on the acupressure points along the body that are most tailored to you.

Your massage therapist will likely ask you how you are feeling throughout the massage, but you should always remember to speak up and ask for any adjustments as desired.

The hot stones will be placed along the body and then rubbed into the tissues and muscles of the body to further stimulate healing, recovery, and rejuvenation. Because of the oils and application, the smooth rocks will slide with ease and the experience is often said to be comforting.

Some things to note:

Consider arriving a bit earlier to your appointment. Allow sufficient time to speak with the receptionist if need be, as well as prepare mentally and physically for such a relaxing experience. Spas often require you to fill out a questionnaire if you are a first time client, so you do not want to feel rushed or in a hurry right before your treatment. Arriving well in advance (10 minutes is plenty) will save yourself from any extra stress.

Communicate clearly with your massage therapist. Are you experiencing pain? Are the stones too hot? Speak up and let your specialist know right away! Hot stone therapy, although at times a little intense, should not be painful or uncomfortable. Although sometimes deep tissue massage can feel overwhelming, it should not leave you suffering. Your massage therapist wants your experience to be as pleasant as possible and this can be further achieved with a straightforward transmission of how you are feeling.

Drink plenty of water after your treatment! The heat from the stones can be at times dehydrating, and in general, it is important for the body to rehydrate after any form of bodywork. Opting for an herbal, caffeine-free tea is also a delightful and health-inducing way to unwind after a massage.

Use Your Discretion with Hot Stone Therapy

Hot stone therapy is not right for everyone. In fact, those who have heart disease, migraines, arthritis, decreased pain sensitivity, metal implants, tumors, diabetes, or high blood pressure should not agree to receive hot stone therapy. Please consult your doctor beforehand if you intend to get hot stone therapy and have a medical condition.

Understanding Hot Stone Therapy: Final Words

Overall, many clients experience hot stone therapy as a pleasant and refreshing body treatment that helps knots, aches, and pains release because of deeper applied pressure and increased heat. Although not the right option for everyone, those who are fond of deep tissue massage and intense application of pressure generally really enjoy hot stone therapy, and some claim the heat from the rocks is comforting and soothing.

Interested in becoming a licensed massage therapist? Searching for massage schools or career colleges in San Diego? ICOHS College is a non-profit vocational school offering a Professional Massage Therapist program. Our dedicated educators are passionate about supporting students on their journey towards reaching their career goals.

Reach out today and request more information to learn more about the Professional Massage Therapist program.

Massage Treatment for Arthritis – by Lailanee Person

By Health No Comments

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 54.4 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis and is usually found in adults over the age of 65 but can still affect people of all ages including children. Arthritis can cause a range of symptoms and impair a person’s daily tasks like walking comfortable, sitting up straight and using their hands. The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a slow progressive condition which is caused by wear and tear of a joint, including the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments and the bone. This arthritis is often found in the hands, spine, hips and knees. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, and although there are some treatment options that aim to slow the progression of the disease, most treatments are focused on reducing pain and improve function. These treatment options include physical measures such as weight loss, physical exercise, and assistive devices; drug therapy including topical drugs, oral medicines, and joint injections; and surgery to repair or replace the joint.

In contrast to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the body’s immune system is not working correctly and results in pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints in the feet, hands and wrists. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis, affecting more than 1.3 million Americans, and is considered one of the more debilitating forms of arthritis when left untreated. Fortunately, modern advancements in treatment options have made it possible to stop or at least slow the worsening of joint damage, and specific treatments have been developed to target the inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Although there is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis, an alternative way to address the symptoms that come with arthritis is through massage therapy, whether it be from a licensed massage therapist at a spa or self-massage at home.

Research has shown that massage can lower the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boost production of serotonin, and lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often linked to pain, and improve sleep as a result. A clinical study was done in 2015 involving a 55 year old woman who suffered from RA for 14 years. Over the course of 5 weeks she received one 60 minute swedish massage on her upper limbs and at the end of 5 weeks she was finally able to perform daily tasks. Another study led by Tiffany Field, Ph.D. in 2013, examined the effects of moderate pressure versus light pressure massage therapy on 42 adults with rheumatoid arthritis in the upper limbs. The adults were randomly assigned to a moderate pressure or a light pressure massage therapy group. The affected arm and shoulder were massaged once a week for a four-week period and the participants also had to perform self-massage daily. By the end of the one-month period, results of the study demonstrated the moderate pressure massage group had less pain, increased grip strength, increased wrist flexion, increased elbow flexion and increased shoulder abduction. The study also found that participants in both groups experienced a reduction in depressed mood and anxiety.

In conclusion, Arthritis is a condition that affects almost 55 million people in the U.S. and 350 worldwide. The pain from arthritis can affect a person’s most simple daily tasks like gripping, standing, and even walking. Research shows that consistent massage and even self massage can reduce stress, reduce pain symptoms, and in some cases, improve and increase joint mobility. Massage therapy can be a wonderful compliment for someone being treated for arthritis and has proven itself to be valuable as complementary medicine.

Bethany Foster, 2013, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Massage Therapy
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279200281_Rheumatoid_Arthritis_and_Massage_Therapy__Case_Study
Desert Health, Studies on RA and Massage Therapy

Study Finds Massage Beneficial for Rheumatoid Arthritis


Ali Duarte-Garcia, MD, 2018
https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Rheumatoid-Arthritis
Hannah Nichols, 2017, Medical News Today
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7621.php

Susan Berstein, Arthritis.org
https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/massage/massage-benefits.php

Epigenetics, Meditation and Massage – by Norriah Mease

By Health No Comments

For one moment, close your eyes. Go into the dream space, allow yourself an opportunity to imagine. What does your perfect life look like?
What does vibrant health feel like to you? Invite yourself a few moments to simply bask in this radiance pouring out from within.
Now, I invite you to come back into your body, back into this room. How did that feeling differ from your state of normal?
Is this state in another world or is it part of your everyday experience? If this seems foreign and unfamiliar, and is not a part of
your daily living, admit that to yourself. You may have negative associations with this truth, however, not all hope is lost. What if I told you,
that new research has proven, there is an affordable way to get there, it starts with your desire to do so. Before you allow that wave of discouragement,
or hopelessness wash over you, thinking to yourself, “I’ll never get there” take a few moments to absorb this information.

Invite the overwhelm to turn into open space for learning. That part is simple, it is a one-word answer: Epigenetics. Let’s begin with
understanding what exactly Epigenetics is.​Epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological traits, or the external and environmental factors,
that turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells actually read those genes. It works to see the true potential of the human mind,
and the cells in our body​.

[1] In other words, within each one of our cells, we have a genetic blueprint of our complete make-up. From the color of our eyes, to the height of our bones, the sound of our voice. Our cells carry our entire DNA strand in every single one of those nuclei. Every tiny cell in our body carries the exact information of who we are. The only differing factor for these cells instructions lies in gene activation or gene silencing. ​Gene silencing refers to a mechanism by which cells shut down large sections of chromosomal DNA. It is generally used to describe the “switching off” of a gene by amechanism other than genetic modification. That is, a gene which would be expressed (turned on) under normal circumstances is switched off by machinery in the cell. Gene silencing is done by incorporating the DNA to be silenced into a form of DNA called heterochromatin that is already silent.

[2]. New research is now pointing to the ability humans carry to silence predisposed genes (such as cancer) and even reverse the effects of these
genes through self-care and meditative practices. Science is just now discovering what we have known all along and this is that we are ​truly​ in charge of our health and happiness. Unfortunately, with this understanding it is now more clear that this is not how the average american, or even the average human is living their life. The environment of cells cannot thrive in high pollution. Pollution is beyond filling our lungs with CO2 emissions and fossil fuels. It delves into all aspects of pollution, to include toxic chemicals in our water systems, processed foods, and even in our soil. In order to achieve max potential on a cellular level,we must first start with cleansing its environment. Detoxing our bodies through organic healthy eating, drinking pure water, and exercise can be your step one. The body has a natural healing capability, but it needs help in order to achieve this. Without deep restful sleep the body cannot function properly, and without a healthy lifestyle and routine, the body will not rest. It is working overtime to rid itself of toxins. The cycle will continue to feed itself until something breaks the chain.

There are several gateways to implement mindfulness into your life. Some common practices include, but are not limited to, yoga,
dance, meditation, cooking, and even singing. Among the most popular are yoga and meditation. The potential health benefits of yoga include: ​Stress reduction.​ A number of studies have shown that yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being. ​Improved fitness.​ Practicing yoga may lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. ​Management of chronic conditions.​ Yoga can help reduce risk factorsfor chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.

[3] Meditation benefits and types are extremely varied and vast. There are loving and kindness meditations used to align the heart and the mind taught by the heart math institute. Guided meditations which are similar to vision quests led by teachers. Kundalini yoga which uses a combination of breathwork, chanting, and postures to bring one into a meditative state. Zen meditations where the student allows their mind to become empty, returning themselves to a state of “nothingness”. Of course our favorite, meditations to provoke epigenetics, which allow the power of meditation to reverse disease, anxiety, and any “dis-ease” in the body.

A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation. The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author​ ​Richard J. Davidson​, founder of the​ ​Center for Investigating Healthy Minds​ and the William Jamesand Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where themolecular analyses were conducted. The study was published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

There are many leading scientists all fascinated by this work. If meditation truly is our key to success, how CAN we teach ourselves to get
out of this over-stressed, over-stimulated reality we are in now. We can take a look on how to connect all of these beautiful practices and
teach ourselves to enter the world of stillness and unlimited potential waiting in the quantum field. The most effortless segway into inducing the
parasympathetic state and implementing a solid self-care plan I can offer you is receiving regular massages. Massage is widely used in all cultures
to evoke feelings of deep relaxation and reduced anxiety. The anxiety-reducing and mood enhancing benefits of massage are probably related
to changes in EEG activity, decreased levels of cortisol and increased activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which acts automatically
to calm the body and brain during​ ​stress​. Numerous studies show that moderate pressure massage is more effective than light pressure massage for reducing pain associated with different medical problems including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Moderate pressure massage also improves​ ​attention​ and enhances the body’s immune response by increasing the activity of natural killer cells. Functional brain imaging studies show that changes take place in many areas of the brain involved in regulating emotions and stress response including the amygdala and the hypothalamus.

[5] Receiving regular massages can train your nervous system how to release and relax. Paired with a movement class you can relax your way into a meditation practice that ultimately leads to unlocking your true potential, living your healthiest life.

In conclusion, your potential lies in your hands alone. There are various tools such as nutrition, mindful movement, breathwork, yoga,
and regular massages that can lead you into a consistent meditation practice. Once you learn the techniques of stillness and mindfulness,
your hard work and consistency will be the key to telling your DNA which genes to silence and which ones to express. You can choose to live a full
life of radiant health and unlimited joy. This entire journey can begin with one tiny step as simple as booking your first massage, and wouldn’t that
be a fun chapter to write.

Reference Page

[1] Lipton, Bruce (2019) What is Epigenetics? Retrieved from https://www.brucelipton.com/what-epigenetics

[2] Zhang Y. (2013) Gene Silencing. In: Dubitzky W., Wolkenhauer O., Cho KH., Yokota H. (eds) Encyclopedia of Systems Biology. Springer, New York, N

[3] Mayo Clinic Staff (2018, October 04) Yoga: fight stress and find serenity. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/yoga/art-2004 4733

[4] Sakai, J. (2014, December 04). Study reveals gene expression changes with meditation. Retrieved from https://news.wisc.edu/study-reveals-gene-expression-changes-with-meditation/

[5] Lake, J. MD (2018, October 19). Massage therapy for anxiety and stress. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/integrative-mental-health-care/201810/massa ge-therapy-anxiety-and-stress

Craniosacral Therapy for Better Health – by Amber Dambacher

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Imagine for a moment a scene unfolding: an idyllic landscape of infinite beauty ranging as far as the eye can see–a broad canopy of trees interspersed with bountiful bushes and greenery, a lush jungle full of vibrant hues, fresh scents and exotic creatures, where nature thrives independently. A natural lake lies within this serenity, drawing to it all walks of life to hydrate and bask in its sun-kissed glory. Among these is a young monkey, at ease in his leisure, playfully enjoying some space from the others. All seems peaceful when suddenly a leopard appears from the perimeter, poised to attack. BOOM! A fast-paced chase ensues, the monkeys running all out full throttle toward safety, adrenaline pumping. The adolescent one, slower than the others and lagging behind, barely escapes the danger alive.

This high intensity, stress induced situation is our current reality in today’s society. With traffic jams, work/school pressure, partnership/family issues, financial expectations, environmental factors (e.g. EMF radiation), social media and constant advertisements, anxiety is rampant among Americans. Abundant overstimulation wreaks havoc on the function of our nervous system, deteriorating both physical and emotional health. When we view an ordinary event as traumatic, the body perceives it to be a real threat and responds accordingly as a defense mechanism. According to Hans Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), stress manifests in three stages—alarm, resistance and exhaustion. The first reaction occurs as the “fight-or-flight” response kicks into gear and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to mobilize resources needed to meet the danger. Next, the parasympathetic nervous system attempts to return most physiological functions to normal levels while simultaneously remaining alert. Finally, the potential for disease is heightened when the stressor pushes the body beyond its capacity. [1] Due to the interconnected web that is the bodymind and the fact that our muscles house feelings, it is imperative to maintain emotional balance as part of an integrated system of overall health.

The key to regaining homeostasis is allowing the body’s instinctual intelligence to take control and naturally reset. This is achieved when we can reach a dynamic state of stillness and live from it. One of the most effective ways of activating the parasympathetic nervous system is through craniosacral therapy, a modality of massage that involves holding specific areas along the spine and cranium with a light touch. Occupational therapist Susan Kratz explains the craniosacral system well: “The three layers of membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges) plus the volume of cerebral spinal fluid constitute the craniosacral system. The tissues extend through the bones of the skull, face, and mouth (the cranium), and then down to the tailbone (the sacrum). Not only does this system protect the brain and spinal cord as a shock absorber, but it also serves to facilitate the electro-chemical conduction of nerve signals. As cerebral spinal fluid is produced within the brain itself, it swells the cranial cavity. The fluid is reabsorbed once reaching a certain pressure gradient and the brain narrows and contracts. This cycle creates the craniosacral rhythm…” [2] The intention of the practitioner is to connect in with this rhythm and be present. As Cara Holland describes, “Not many of us have been given time and space where we are listened to and heard. Where we are offered a connection to a witness who has no agenda, no judgment and who is grounded, present with us as we take this journey into craniosacral therapy. Holding and allowing, waiting, neutral space requires that the practitioner be grounded, centered, present, mindful, physically and energetically connected. From that place, each craniosacral practitioner simply holds the intention to allow time and space to provide the client and their body to heal, find structural, emotional balance and center, in whatever way they need to.” [3] Though it is one of the more subtle therapies existing in the bodywork field, the results in alleviating symptoms such as pain (physical and emotional), anxiety, depression, insomnia, appetite, inflammation, aggression, sensory processing, social engagement/behaviors and overall quality of life have been astounding.

The explanation to how so many benefits can be achieved from a singular modality lies in the complex matrix that is the brain: “There are three cranial meninges, or layers, that surround the brain: pia mater, arachnoid mater and dura mater. The pia mater membrane is adhered to the surface of the brain. The arachnoid membrane is adhered to the dura mater membrane. The dura mater membrane is formed of two layers: The periosteal layer is adhered to the inner surface of the skull bones, and the meningeal layer is adhered to the periosteal layer. Strands of collagen, or trabeculae, span the subarachnoid space and are attached to both the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater membrane. All three meningeal layers encase the brain. The dura mater’s meningeal layer separates from the periosteal layer in a few places to form membrane sheets that fold inward into the brain tissue. These sheets are arranged vertically between left and right hemispheres of the cerebrum and cerebellum, and horizontally between the cerebellum and the cerebrum. The arachnoid membrane follows the dural meningeal layer, and the pia mater membrane remains adhered to the brain surface.” [4]

When any part of this system becomes blocked or ground substance flow is restricted through pathways, problems begin to arise. “These substances are not only vital, nourishing and cleansing substances; they are also molecules that create extracellular communication among cells. Extracellular communication helps regulate and integrate cell processes, and in the brain extracellular communication also helps modulate neural signaling.” [4]

A double-blind study performed in Spain clearly shows evidence of significantly improved levels of pain and anxiety in those with fibromyalgia directly following craniosacral therapy treatment, which we can assume would also be true of healthy individuals. This group also showed positive influence on factors such as physical function, general health, vitality and social function. What’s more, these participants maintained that improvement one year post-study. [5] In another study done by Upledger Institute International, both practitioners and parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder were asked to evaluate the clients after having received between 1-5 sessions of craniosacral therapy. Twenty characteristic behavioral or functional features of ASD were rated to measure the experiences gained with CST. Huge behavioral advancements were reported by almost all clients in categories including general behavior, cognitive function, communication, sensory reaction, social skills and emotional stability. [6] Due to the intricate network of cranial anatomy, all body systems stand to benefit from CST. Since there are no contraindications for this modality, it is safe to employ for everyone. When we find our home in a restorative and rejuvenating parasympathetic state of being, we are able to maintain the alignment and balance needed to both heal and obtain optimal vitality so we may truly thrive.


References

1. Lucille, H. (2016, August 31.) General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) Stages. Retrieved July 10, 2019, from https://www.integrativepro.com/Resources/Integrative-Blog/2016/General-Adaptation-Syndrome-Stages
2. Kratz, S. (2009.) Craniosacral Therapy: Helping Improve Brain Function. Retrieved June 24, 2019, from https://www.iahe.com/docs/articles/Brain.pdf
3. Holland, C. (2019, January.) Craniosacral Therapy: Finding Your Way to Neutral.
4. Wanveer, T. (2014, September.) How Craniosacral Therapy May Contribute to Brain Health. Retrieved June 14, 2019, from https://www.iahe.com/docs/articles/Article_-_How_Cranio_Sacral_Therapy_May_Contribute_to_Brain_Health.pdf
5. Matarán-Peñarrocha, G; Castro-Sánchez, A; García, G; Moreno-Lorenzo, C; Carreño, T; Zafra, M. (2011, June 15.) Influence of Craniosacral Therapy on Anxiety, Depression and Quality of Life in Patients with Fibromyalgia. Retrieved June 14, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3135864/
6. Kratz, S; Kerr, J; Porter, L. (2016, June 1.) The use of CranioSacral therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Benefits from the viewpoints of parents, clients, and therapists. Retrieved June 24, 2019, from https://www.iahe.com/docs/articles/final-publication-cst-for-asd-feb-2017.pdf

The Natural Healing Properties of Thalassotherapy for Veterans – by Alicia Leos

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In 2011, I was spending my days on a hill in Khowst, Afghanistan. Thanks to the training, I was always ready, “To deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat,” (The Soldier’s Creed of the United States Army). Whether I was inside or outside the Concertina wire that covered the tops of our HESCO barriers, I accepted that our two platoons of the 870th Military Police Company were surrounded with people who wanted to kill us. I experienced how the war changed the way I viewed the world, the judgment I gave myself, and how it changed the service members who haven’t touched their boots on bloodied soil. All veterans served, spent owned time with a Drill, (Term for cadre of boot camp instructors), and are taught in any military basic training a rule with no name which brands warrior hearts to be in it for each other till the end, and it goes like this; ‘Nobody, gets left behind.’

Today, a lot of our discharged armed forces members suffer through a deficit of assurance when it used to be there in abundance of benefits while they were in the service. A lack of purpose can crash over as waves of regret and resentment to the ones who wander the halls of the V.A. In a different time, they had a special type of confidence the moment they swore an oath to become an active member of a force that assigned them a duty to protect and defend the people of the United States of America. This duty is a job that was bestowed on them by the right of the ink above a dotted line that follows behind a legacy of those who sacrificed with blood, tears, and nightmares. Instead of finding glory for the fight of freedom, they discovered flags impaled in the backs of the dead before them. Once upon a time, the friends and families out there who once prostrated before the squared away heroes they thought they knew didn’t question a thought such as, ‘Yeah, they would kill, or even die for me.’ It’s not long after the dust settles that those veterans are fighting to unlatch the demons that followed them home from work. These vets suffer a serious disconnection from people who were once familiar in their pre-military lives and have some others questioning if they are safe to be around at all. These circumstances are a few of many reasons why the wounded brave can easily give up all hope that one day they will know what it’s like to feel a connection to their world, that will lead to a meaningful life once again. My brothers and sisters at arms, our veterans, (Status: discharged, active, combat, and non-Combat,) signed their freedoms away. It is long overdue that they have more opportunities to feel the spirit of freedom present once more. That opportunity is within Thalassotherapy.

Thalassotherapy literally translates to, Sea Therapy because ‘Thalasso’ is Greek for the sea. In 1867, Dr. La Bonnardiere gave the ocean healing a name. He also observed that seawater is a therapeutic conduit that can prevent all sorts of ailments because it revitalizes and cleanses the system. Although he “coined” the term, he did not invent it. The esoteric Ancient Egyptians and Greek philosophers (Euripides, Hippocrates, Plato, and Herodotus) recognized the oceans held special properties that improved physical and mental health as early as 484 BC. They recorded the effects of the revitalizing results that came with those who were submerging themselves in seawater. One more example of how our veterans are guaranteed to receive some therapy within the ocean’s waters comes from an article published by Massage Magazine, “Not only do both of these fluids contain all trace elements and minerals, the quantities of minerals are nearly identical. Seawater is so close to our bodies’ internal environment that if white blood cells are removed from the body and placed in a sterile seawater solution, they are able to maintain normal cell function for up to five weeks; this is the only solvent that will accommodate continued cellular activity…” (Angela Eriksen-Stanley, the author). The benefits our wounded warriors can get from this vital source of minerals and trace elements are within every type of Thalassotherapy application. The Thalassotherapy benefits found within being submerged in its waters include Being with nature, improved range of motion, sleep, cognitive attention skills, mood, well-being, motivation, reduced mental, and physiological fatigue, and a heightened quality of life.

This sea therapy is the answer to a lot of the veterans who are suffering from PTSD, pain in their bodies, insomnia, depression, and fatigue. There are many forms of Hydro Therapy or water therapy. Thalassotherapy is the most beneficial to veterans who struggle with stress-related symptoms today. The ways Some of these fighters decide that they do want to take a step toward getting better, but don’t know where to start. For example, The Wave Academy helps guide veterans toward this holistic approach with the support of organizations and Veteran rehabilitation centers like VVSD (Veteran’s Village of San Diego). The Wave Academy utilizes the practice using a form of aquatic massage called, Watsu, and their goal is to enrich the lives of veterans who suffer from their wartime injuries. These are real testimonies written by veterans who took part in The Wave Academy’s program is proof that Thalassotherapy works. “I have been experiencing very real flashbacks recently and am on the verge of crying at any moment. Today was the first time I have felt safe all week and that overwhelms me with gratitude.” (Waves Academy, Post-911 Veteran, MTS and PTS, Session 7)
“ I was anxious upon arrival with racing thoughts. Had bad night terrors/sweats. In the water…it all melted away. Marcia is an angel healer. Thank you.”
(Waves Academy, Vietnam Vet, Session 9)

“After the 1st session: The experience is hard to explain…very comfortable, maternal, relaxing, unencumbering, free. One of the nicest experiences I have had in many years.” (Waves Academy, Post-911 Veteran, survived a suicide bomber, Session 1) Thankfully, there are organizations out there that are poised to help them adjust to life after the military. Another example of sea therapy experienced, but a sad one is of Navy rescue swimmer James Bizzle. He was suffering through his PTS and addiction and became homeless. Once he graduated a rehabilitation program for homeless veterans, he found his bearings. The first thing he did after that was to get a group of fellow vets to go snorkel with him because “It feels natural to go back to the water. It’s like I get to know myself all over again. It starts with the shock of the cold that says, ‘Wake up!’” (James Bizzle, The Snorks, Facebook Messaging Group). If there is something out there that can quell the symptoms of trauma experienced by a combat veteran, and it’s in the ocean. Motivation and a newfound sense of wonder can greet candidates that you would think did not fit the qualification of liking the ocean at all. This testimony comes from an original member of The Snorks group that expanded and made a Meet-Up in San Diego. “Shane Yost was terrified of the water. His ankle bears a tattoo of a line with the words Do not fill above this line. He wasn’t comfortably exceeding that depth, and he lived by those words. But on a day out from the Aspire Center, a veteran residential rehabilitation treatment program based in San Diego, he put aside that fear when a girl meekly asked if someone could join her boogie boarding. ‘One of my weaknesses is when someone asks me to do something,’ says Yost. So he crept into the ocean — and stayed there. Thirty minutes passed, and the post-traumatic stress disorder survivor realized he’d started having fun. Next came an invite from a friend to go snorkeling. One taste of swimming with seals and sea lions and Yost was hooked, devoting every weekend to his newfound hobby.”

Thalassotherapy doesn’t alter the inner workings of the brain that makes a person who they are. Instead, this holistic approach will be an experience that will quiet the mind and give the key back to the wounded soul. Two years after James stopped our regular Sunday 9 am Snorkel Session off La Jolla Cove, he lost sight of other commitments and became homeless again. I saw him at Operation Stand down San Diego this year. I asked if he snorkels anymore, and he said, “Man it’s been a while since I’ve gone out there. I miss it a lot.” The smile was proof to me that ocean therapy works. With just the memories of his time in the ocean water, he still can experience the happiness he felt, and flashback to the sense of relief it brought him.

To conclude, water has a healing power altogether and it comes in many different forms of therapies. Thalassotherapy, Balneotherapy, and the Chinese practice of taking in water. “Thalassotherapy faded away in the Western world when philosophers embraced Aristotelian logic, which was then nurtured by Galileo (1568–1642) and Descartes (1596–1650)… The decline may thus well be due to the adoption by the great minds of the time of stricter scientific viewpoints, and rational reasoning by the Renaissance researchers and thinkers.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5535692/)Thalassotherapy is a method of healing while using properties of the sea life (i.e. seaweed), ocean water, and climate to help give our veterans restoration of health, and energy which is creating within them an environment where they can feel at peace.

The Effects of Complimentary Alternative Medicine for the Poor – by Lindsey R. Hyde

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By definition, ‘accessible’ means being reached or is within reach, as well as the capability of being used, seen, understood, or appreciated. A few common examples of this applied in society include ramps for individuals that navigate the world in a wheelchair, iPhone’s VoiceOver screen reader for people that have a vision impairment or color blindness, and vibrating street crossing buttons to alert those with both hearing and vision loss. Accessibility creates an environment where being an able-bodied individual is not the only standard from which the universe operates. It is all-inclusive, modifying what is already available and always expanding to give everybody the best chance at a successful life not determined by their disability or circumstances. Massage and bodywork, alternative medicine, body movement therapies such as yoga or Tai Chi, and self-care practices and education should be accessible by everyone. In the case of those who are homeless, living in poverty, or are low income, there are many barriers that can stand in the way of them receiving this care, cost, and knowledge being at the top of the list. This paper will discuss the physical and mental effects of being homeless or living in poverty, the positive effects of complementary alternative medicine in this population and why it is vital they receive it regularly, as well as what actions are currently being taken to address the issues of accessibility of this care and why it should matter to you.

According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2017 thirty-nine million people (12.3%) in the United States were living in poverty and almost four-hundred thousand of those people were San Diego residents (11.9%.) Poverty is measured by the U.S. Census Bureau using set income thresholds that vary based on the composition and size of a family. If that family’s income totals less than their threshold value, they are considered as living in poverty. In 2017, the computed poverty threshold for one person living in the United States was 12,488 dollars. With the average population per household being 2.54 that same year, two adults and one child, the poverty threshold was 19,515 dollars. In stark comparison, the median household income of the U.S. in 2017 was 61,372 dollars. Poverty is not just struggling to pay bills or missing a meal, chronic poverty puts physical, emotional, and mental stress and pressures on millions of families each year. The effects of poverty are generational and cyclical, and they extensively impact individuals of all ages, races, and ethnicities nationwide. The basic necessities of survival such as food, shelter, and clean drinking water become such a struggle to secure that things like healthcare, education, and entertainment are seen as frivolous luxuries. Children born into and developing in poverty have higher rates of delinquency, depression and anxiety disorders, lower academic scores, and higher prevalence of cognitive, attention, and behavioral problems. Poverty in adulthood is host to the development of numerous mental health disorders, physiological and psychological stress, and higher rates of suicide. Where there is poverty, there is a lack of education, crime, joblessness, and poor physical and mental health.

In a study published in 2015 done in partnership between San Francisco State University’s Institute for Holistic Health Studies, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and Texas Tech University Health Science Centers, a direct correlation was found between level of education/income level and knowledge or lack of knowledge of 4 common complementary health practices. A correlation was also discovered between the level of education and ‘lack of need’ being a reason for not utilizing those complementary health approaches. During this research, a survey was used to poll people who have never used acupuncture, chiropractic work, supplements, and herbs, or yoga and their reasoning why. Those who did not graduate from high school were 29-58% more likely to have selected ‘lack of knowledge’ as a reason for non-use across all categories polled. Individuals with higher income levels polled less likely to select ‘lack of knowledge’ as a reason of non-use, for example, this bracket was 37% less likely to choose ‘lack of knowledge’ as a reason for not using chiropractic care. On the basis of education, voters with a higher level of completed education were significantly more likely to choose ‘lack of need’ as a response to non-use of complementary health. Those who attended college were 22% more likely to select ‘lack of need’ in response to non-use of chiropractor and acupuncture care. In conclusion, this data coincides perfectly with the sentiments mentioned above. Living in poverty drastically diminishes the opportunity for affording educational opportunities and utilizing healthcare services. It can be inferred from above that having a higher income equals better healthcare, less labor-intensive work, and potentially fewer injuries, thus creating less need for complementary health approaches.

A study published in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Center for Health Statistics further prove the disparities between income level, access, and use of complementary health approaches. Families with incomes over one-hundred thousand dollars had four times more out-of-pocket expenses ($6.2 billion) paid for visits to complementary health practitioners per year than those families making less than twenty-five thousand dollars (1.3 billion.) Natural products and supplement sales paid for out-of-pocket per year were twice as much for families with incomes between fifty and ninety-nine thousand dollars ($4.1 billion) than for those making less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($1.9 billion.) Furthermore, individuals in two of the highest income brackets spent significantly more than half of all the out-of-pocket expenditures for complementary health approaches ($21.1 billion/70.2%.) Those families were also willing to spend almost one-hundred and sixty dollars more on average per occasion while receiving complementary healthcare services or purchasing health products. These studies draw two main conclusions, higher-income individuals, overall, are either spending the most amount of money on alternative healthcare or have the knowledge and means to use it but do not feel the need to. While those with lower incomes and/or living in poverty contribute significantly less money to the purchases of alternative healthcare, the population even more vulnerable and most often forgotten in the world of complementary health services is homeless.

According to The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, over half a million people nationwide experience homelessness on any given night. Half of all homeless individuals reside in the top five states with the highest rates of homeless populations. California has the most total people experiencing homelessness at almost one-hundred and thirty thousand homeless individuals any given day, followed by New York, Florida, Texas, and Washington. 2019’s WeAllCount, point-in-time-count, San Diego results show at the very minimum, just over eight-thousand San Diegans live on the streets or shelters on any given night, making it fourth highest on the list of major cities with the most occurrence of homelessness. Thirty-six percent, of the homeless population in San Diego, report being physically disabled, twelve percent are under the age of twenty-four, ten percent are veterans, and three percent are families with at least one child. The effects of homelessness are much more extensive and physically dangerous than those effects of individuals living in poverty. The homeless experience more serious health conditions such as skin diseases due to decreased hygiene habits and access to clean running water, cold or heat injuries by constant exposure to the elements, nutritional deficiencies due to poor diet and/or starvation, drug dependency, alcoholism, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, and much higher rates of mortality, among many others. Psychological effects of homelessness include loss of self-esteem and self-worth, loss of ability and will to care for oneself, increased danger of abuse and violence, increased risk of taking part in or witnessing criminal activity and being incarcerated or otherwise being institutionalized, and development of behavioral problems including substance abuse.

The homeless population and those living in poverty are subjectively in the most need of massage and bodywork, alternative medicine, body movement therapies, and self-care instruction and education, but are least likely to have access to it, let alone be able to engage in it. These types of therapies have the potential to be highly effective for reducing stress and anxiety, increasing blood flow and lymphatic drainage, lowering blood pressure, and soothing neuromuscular pain and discomfort. Such treatments are less expensive long term due to the focus being preventative, this can lead to fewer injuries and illnesses, fewer doctors’ visits and less reliance on prescription medication. High prices and the fight of getting insurance companies to cover complementary health prevents access to these alternatives for many low-income Americans and most of the homeless population.

A 2008 issue of Healing Hands, a publication of the Healthcare for the Homeless (HCH) Clinicians’ Network, explored the use of complementary and alternative therapies in homeless healthcare. HCH Manchester in New Hampshire developed an eight-week long training program working to educate and teach the homeless population ‘Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction’ (MBSR.) The program consists of two to three hour-long sessions once a week focusing on mindfulness meditation and yoga practices, with a full-day retreat scheduled in week six. Also on staff are a psychologist, social worker, and substance abuse counselor that are available at any time to better assist the participants. To track results, they use a quality of life survey before and after completion of the program to document perceived improvements. Outcomes include reduced pain and increased ability to cope with chronic pain, increased abilities in dealing with stressors and being able to relax, increased sense of well-being and enthusiasm for life, and improved self-esteem, clarity, and awareness. In addition to this program, HCH Manchester also offers clinic services including medical and mental health care, addiction counseling, health education, social services, assistance with food stamps, Medicaid, and disability services, and dental and eye care. For those who are homeless or living in poverty, you are always in fight-or-flight and survival mode. Getting a chance to think clearly, feel safe, cry, laugh, and feel emotions, and even just a kind word or gentle touch can mean the world to them. Everyone deserves the opportunity to feel human and to feel cared for.

Many organizations across the nation are realizing the need for alternative health for the homeless, low income, and improvised populations. New York Harm Reduction Educator works to put drug users and sex workers on the path of recovery, by providing syringe exchange, education, and outreach services. Other services include overdose prevention, counseling and family stabilization services, STD testing, support groups, sex education, as well as holistic health services. NYHRE provides meditation, reiki, qi gong, breathing exercises, and ear acupuncture throughout the city at several of their street-based syringe exchanges. The Care Through Touch Institute in San Francisco, California gives free chair massage at various shelters and churches, to the community of people who experience homelessness or are marginally housed. They also have a program called Comfort, Care, & Companioning Program that targets homeless and marginally housed seniors. This program provides a companion to give comforting massage, caring conversation, and companionship to support these individuals dealing with isolation and physical and emotional pain related to conditions arising from the aging process or illness and injury. Last but certainly not least, Everytable, a restaurant with a fast-food style twist, makes healthy foods quick and accessible to underserved communities in Los Angles, California. The meals are priced according to the neighborhood they serve, making them affordable to lower-income individuals and those living in poverty. The meals are healthy, fresh, and made from scratch and provided to communities with limited or no access to affordable healthy foods and sold at discounted prices.
While there are people out there doing great things and making big strides in creating more accessibility of complementary alternative medicine to vulnerable populations such as the poor and homeless, we still have a long way to go. Education and advocacy are the most critical aspects. Education of the health professionals and practitioners and education of those in need, as well as continually advocate for affected individuals and striving to make positive changes.

Works Cited
Allen, DMD, J., Carlson, APRN, BC, T., Colangelo, LSW, B., Orman, S., Rabiner, MD, M., Rodriguez-marzec, MS, FNP-C, PMHNP-C, R., . . . Bredensteiner, S. (2008, June). Healing Hands: Use of Complementary & Alternative Therapies in Homeless Health Care (P. Post, MPA, Ed.). Retrieved July, 2019, from www.nhchc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/jun2008HealingHands.pdf
Burke, A., Nahin, R. L., & Stussman, B. J. (2015, June 17). Limited Health Knowledge as a Reason for Non-Use of Four Common Complementary Health Practices. Retrieved July, 2019, from www.ncbi.nlm.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4470691/#_ffn_sectitle
Care Through Touch Institute. (n.d.). Carethroughtouch.org. Retrieved July, 2019, from www.carethroughtouch.org/welcome
CMC Catholic Medical Center. (n.d.). Health Care for the Homeless Program Manchester. Retrieved July, 2019, from www.catholicmedicalcenter.org/care-and-treatment/community-health/health-care-for-the-homeless
EVERYTABLE. (n.d.). Everytable.com. Retrieved July, 2019, from www.everytable.com/mission/
Fontenot, K., Semega, J., & Kollar, M. (2018, September). Income and Poverty in the United States:2017. Retrieved July, 2019, from www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-263.pdf
Henry, M., Mahathey, A., Morrill, T., Robinson, A., Shivji, A., & Watt, R. (2018, December). The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) To Congress. Retrieved July, 2019, from files.hudexchange.info
Nahin, Ph.D., M.P.H., R. L., National Institutes of Health, Barnes, M.A., P. M., National Center for Health Statistics, & Stussman, B.A., B. J. (2016, June 22). National Health Statistics Report: Expenditures on Complementary Health Approaches: United States, 2012. Retrieved July, 2019, from www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr095.pdf
New York Harm ReductionEducators. (2019). Nyhre.org. Retrieved July, 2019, from nyhre.org/programs-services/holistic-health-services/
Simon, MD, K. M., Beder, MD, M., & Manseau, MD, MPH, M. W. (2018, June 29). Addressing Poverty and Mental Illness. Retrieved July, 2019, from www.psychiatrictimes.com/special-reports/addressing-poverty-and-mental-illness
United States Census Bureau. (n.d.). Poverty: How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty. Retrieved July, 2019, from www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty/guidance/poverty-measures.html
United States Census Bureau. (2010-2018). QuickFacts San Diego County, California; California. Retrieved July, 2019, from www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/sandiegocountycalifornia,CA/PST045218
United States Census Bureau. (2017). Poverty Thresholds for 2017 by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years. Retrieved July, 2019, from www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-threshold/thresh17.xls
United States Census Bureau. (2018, November). Average Population Per Household and Family: 1940 to Present. Retrieved July, 2019, from www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/families/time-series/households/hh6.xls

Massage Therapist Salaries – How Much Can You Make?

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Income matters. Without a good-paying job, people look for something else during an economic crisis. In the massage therapy industry, it is guaranteed to have a good income considering the size of the market and high demand for the service.

According to the BLS 2018 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median pay for massage therapists is $41,420 per year with an hourly rate of $19.92. The highest 10% of professionals earned more than $78,280 annually.

Career Bliss reports that Massage Envy Franchise Owners earn $100,000 annually, or $48 per hour, which is 50% higher than the national average for all Franchise Owners at $60,000 annually and 48% higher than the national salary average for ​all working Americans.

In addition, the Massage Therapy career may provide you with an opportunity to open your own business, and the income possibilities are endless.

 

 

Workers might as well have a job that’s enjoyable and fulfilling. Massage Therapists tend to have a low-stress level, with a better than average work-life balance and offer opportunities for upward mobility. Utilizing statistics of both career paths and location, Massage Therapists can take advantage of their best options for upward mobility in their career path.

When you decide to enroll in a massage therapy program, you can choose to complete the minimum training hours to begin working as quickly as possible, or you can complete more hours to specialize in a particular type of massage. The latter seems to yield a better paycheck with more expertise in a specific area.

Building your client base also seems to be an important element, building an established regular list of clients can provide steady income and gives you the potential to earn more.

Increasing your salary growth through expertise, regular client lists, and location gives you the earning potential you need to reach your goals. And here is the goal to work toward: The highest 10% of professionals that earned more than $78,280 annually.

Have you considered a career in massage therapy? Apply Online today!