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Health

pain management, ways to manage pain, simple ways to get rid of pain

A Holistic Approach to Pain Management

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Listen When Pain Speaks

Sitting in pain is never a good feeling, however, we do not have to stay in pain. Sometimes we feel it and we are unable or unwilling to move because of the fear of more pain. It is important to recognize that our bodies are made to heal themselves and if we are unable to facilitate the movements that are necessary to help to alleviate our pain, we have options. Those options help us to feel better and to move us in the direction of not only feeling physically better but being calm of mind and more focused.

A large portion of us tends to walk around in our sympathetic expression of the fight, flight or freeze. This protective defense keeps us on guard. We do not even realize it, because it is something that we do naturally. From our first fear holding on to keeping our guard up as we walk through the world defending against physical & emotional predators, or simply life’s displeasures. This tension built up in our body tends to maintain itself in our every waking moment. This tension gets to a point where it restricts the circulatory conductivity that promotes functionality, and consequently, resulting in pain and physical restrictions. As a result, avoidance becomes a habit, “Don’t touch me, that hurts”, avoid that area, avoid that person, avoid, avoid, avoid. Avoidance becomes a way of life. We avoid not only the physical sensation of pain but also, all the emotional and mental aspects of things that cause us pain. There are solutions when we feel pain. First, our perception of pain must change. Pain is our friend, it alerts us that something is wrong, something needs attention. Pain says to us, “breath, I am stuck”, it says, “drink water, I am dehydrated”. Pain also says, “movement with proper breath & hydration is required”. “I need to rub this area”, “I need to relax and breathe”. Pain sometimes says, “I am hungry”, but overall, pain is a call to action, not the inaction that we do to avoid pain.

What You Can Do to Alleviate Pain

1) Hydrate properly:

Hold alkaline water in your mouth three times for 10 to 30 seconds before swallowing

2) Breath properly:

Take a deep, exaggerated breath three times (you can exhale with a “haw” sound)

3) Move or Get a Massage:

Exercise, get a massage, or some kind of bodywork. Bodywork or massage are forms of care that aid movement in body & muscles when you are unable or unwilling to do the movement necessary for keeping healthy actions. Bodywork helps in many aspects of the body’s needs to stay in better functionality. This form of care helps to repel stagnations and increases the body’s circulation in a way that most other forms of care cannot. It helps with balancing the structure, it helps to strengthen the muscles, tendons & sinews. It helps to nourish the whole body’s system, strengthens the mind and its ability to push forward despite the challenges. It helps to soothe the soul and free tension in the body. It gives hope to the pain-filled individual.

Most forms of holistic health care contribute to the betterment and wellness of the individual. There are many benefits gained simply by adding massages to your personal self-care plan. Thereby reducing our sympathetic expression that adds to our pain and declining functionality. If massage or bodywork is missing from your healthcare package or self-care package, I recommend at a minimum that you get a massage or some bodywork weekly or once a month. If you can receive bodywork or massage weekly, you will notice that it will improve how you function in this world.

Learn more about massage and holistic health programs at ICOHS College today!

 

 

 

smile everyday to improve emotional well being

10 Tips to Improve Your Emotional Well-Being

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Emotional Well being is an important part of your health. People who are emotionally healthy have control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors are able to face the challenges of life. They can put problems in perspective and recover from setbacks. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships.

Being emotionally healthy does not mean being happy all the time. It means that one is aware of their emotions. That one can deal with them, whether positive or negative. Emotionally healthy people also feel stress, anger, and sadness. But they know how to handle their negative feelings. They can distinguish when a problem exceeds what they can handle on their own. They also know when to seek help from their doctor.

Emotional health is an important part of your life. It allows you to develop your full potential. You can work productively and cope with the stresses of everyday life. It helps you work with other people and contribute to society.

Research has shown a relationship between an optimistic mental state and lower blood pressure, a lower risk of heart disease, a healthier weight, better blood sugar levels, and a longer life, says the agency.

The smile is the facial expression associated with feelings such as joy, satisfaction or happiness. It is characterized in that the corners of the lips are lifted so that they form a U-shaped curve. When the smile is spontaneous, the muscles of the sides of the eyes also move.

The smile is a beautiful gesture that always transmits light, positive energy and contributes to the good physical and mental state of people. With a smile, we can change our mood, increase our attractiveness, improve our health and reduce stress. In addition, there will also be positive effects in our environment, it helps us to relate to others.

emotional well being at icohs.edu

 

The smile conveys part of our happiness and well-being to those around us. Smiling has many health benefits. Smiling rejuvenates, oxygenates, cleanses, eliminates stress and improves relationships with others. Smiling increases confidence, balances mood, improves digestion and makes you live longer. Laughter helps overcome many situations such as depression, anxiety or stress. When we laugh, we feel much better because it cleans and ventilates our lungs. Laughing regulates the heart rate. Laughing relaxes the muscles and is a good breathing technique.

Accompanying our words with a smile is the best gift we give each other.

The smile corresponds to the feelings, the laugh corresponds to the emotions.

Emotions are difficult to define because they arise when evaluating any previous event that affects memory, subjective experience, thought, etc. Faced with positive emotions, feeling joy, hope, fun we smile and laugh, the contrary to negative emotions such as fear, anger, anger, sadness, we express different facial gestures because they are unpleasant.

Laughter and a sense of humor are protagonists in our well-being and positive energy. And they are the most important strengths of people. The smile evolves into an emotional, mental and even spiritual behavior.

The smile and laughter work a positive attitude, causing a rapid effect of contagion towards others that is very pleasant to share. Exercise more than advisable to live with a sense of humor. Laughing is a biological function necessary to maintain physical and mental well-being. It is ideal to achieve relaxation and open our ability to feel and love.

10 Tips to improve your emotional well-being

1. Don’t think, feel
2. Don’t judge yourself, it flows
3. Do not deny, accept
4. Don’t look back, look here and now
5. Don’t expect to be loved, love yourself
6. Smile every day, practicing smiles is very healthy
7. Feel the positive force of laughter inside you
8. Contagious and let yourself be smiled
9. Give many smiles, you will heal your soul and sow joy
10. Smile and enjoy life

 

smile to improve emotional well being

You know now that smile and laughter are natural functions that you have, and it is only up to you to articulate your muscles to live with health and joy.

Remember that being emotionally well is more than just managing stress. It also means being attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, whether positive or negative. Emotional well-being implies the ability to be aware of and accept our feelings, rather than deny them, have an optimistic approach to life and enjoy life despite their occasional disappointments and frustrations.

Read more about more ways to improve your well-being by reading the first article in our blog series “The 3 Neglected Needs”.

Holistic Health Practitioner at ICOHS College

Movement: The Neglected Need (3) 

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By: J Emanuel Hodge MSAOM, HHP
Integrative Medicine Physician

Movement: The Neglected Need (3)

Taking charge of your health is not a quick process, but if you do it, you will notice the benefits of it.
Through consistency of proper breath and hydration, as explained in the previous articles, and applied to Movement with Integrative-therapies, you can find a new healthy balance in your life.
Movement is the act or process of changing place or position. When performed with a releasing breath and focus, it compels muscles and body functions to release contractions.  Movement, as a Neglected Need, encapsulates Meditation, Exercise, and Nutrition:
●        Meditation – as in mindfulness of movement and stillness. Letting go of destructive obsessions, releasing judgments, fear, apprehension, and accepting the temporary nature of what is.
●        Exercise – as in mindfulness of exerted movement incorporating breath and hydration. Exhaling into pain, exertion, heaviness, uncomfortable sensations, and compound contractions.
●        Nutrition – as in the mindfulness of consumption and assimilation of foods. Chewing an average of 32 times, or until the taste is gone from food, compelling our internal systems to rest and digest.
Meditation, Exercise, and proper Nutrition facilitate our 5 basic needs for growth, expansion, and personal balance.  The 5 basic needs for growth and its associated expressions (natural elements, organs, emotions, etc.) are:
●        Breath – viewed as metal/lung
●        Hydration – viewed as water/kidneys
●        Exercise – viewed as wood/liver
●        Meditation – viewed as fire/heart, releasing judgment
●        Nutrition – viewed as earth/stomach, acceptance
Creating a balance for self by applying the proper breathing and hydration techniques shared in previous articles (i.e. exaggerated releasing exhale 3 times per hour and holding alkaline water in the mouth for 10 seconds or more 3 times per hour) and understanding that applying these to Movement will bring mindfulness of action and solution to challenges.
Applying breathing and hydration to exercise or daily functions to inspire growth and expansion is viewed as the element of wood. Maintaining Breath and Hydration enhances our body systems function (circulatory, digestive, immune, endocrine, integumentary, etc.), boosting and compelling our capillary exchange of nutrients and oxygen we consume. Allowing our alkaline water to aid in detoxifying our build-ups helps exchange acid and alkaline balance in our body (preferably 60/40 – 70/30 alkaline high).
The true challenge that we have in life is not realizing the effects on the body, the body systems, and the body‘s ability to function properly we cause when we exist in the compensated actions of trauma. The most basic muscles, organs, and body systems’ response are constructions, contractions, inflammation, Phlegm, and diminished circulation.
These responses often simulate the results of dehydration, which adds to tensions and restricted functionality.
Cold or heat sometimes caused by trauma often redirects blood flow and can starve an area of our life healing blood, nutrients, oxygen, and hydration. Just as when you slap a hand on a surface covered with water, this disburses the water into different directions. In a similar fashion, our body reacts to trauma and creates different directions to help compensate for its trauma, thereby leaving the area either undersaturated or oversaturated with blood, which defines our pain sensations, and compensated habits.
What are some of the reasons we fall back out of balance? Often it’s because of our habits – or rather, our Compensated Habits. When we experience trauma we tend to develop a compensated habit that allows us to stay in function, though this function is often strained from the trauma. We have a tendency to go to over the counter quick relief consumables that numb pain, thins the blood, attacks our liver and kidneys, disrupts our stomach, inflames our intestines, quickens our heart rates, and causes eruptions of the skin.
The purpose of Breath and Hydration 3x’s per hour is to provide the basis of how we compel our muscles to relax, as well as motivate smooth function of our stomach absorption and elimination, soothe our organ systems, and improve our circulation each day. Developing the habit of adding these two basic neglected actions helps produce a clear sensational awareness of body constriction and release.
The purpose of holding water in one’s mouth is to create the habit over time of activating out the system through consumption: holding, chewing, swishing, etc. Holding for 10-30 sec three times per hour and chewing food a minimum of 32 times acts as the pilot light to our stomach oven, heating it up to receive, causing a smoother absorption, transformation, and transfer of the nutrients we need from what we consume.
Movement is such an amazing and dynamic expression that can aid in or take from discomfort. It is the action taken that solidifies our body’s expression. In regard to pain and dysfunction, the lack of movement, hydration, and breath contributes significantly to distress, discomfort, constriction, compounded contractions, pressure buildup, tension, stress, and sustained pains we experience.
Diet is important as well, though it is not the focus of this particular expression. By practicing Breath (exaggerated inhale through the nostrils with a releasing “hawww” sound exhale through the mouth) 3x’s/hrs in conjunction with Hydration (holding alkaline water in the mouth for 10 seconds or more three times consecutively per hour) will enhance your metabolism and digestion.
Maintaining breath and hydration in conjunction with varying movements, therapies, and exercises will not only turn your ‘ok’ massage into an amazing massage, but it will also turn your constrictions and/or restrictions and pain into flowing, relaxed, improved circulation.
Breath and hydration are the key elements to enhancing our life experiences. They promote greater release enhances digestive, circulatory, systemic and lymphatic functions, as well as improve the clinical responsiveness, correction, and healing from therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy. Exercises, movements, and total daily life functions from any therapy would be enhanced if we stayed aware of breath and hydration. To assume control of the body you must assume control of the breath.
Five needs that have to happen in order to create not just the self-awareness but the ability to let go of this defensive exterior that we hold onto those five things are:
1. Meditation
2. Exercise
3. Nutrition
4. Breath
5. Hydration
These 5 elements when properly performed, allows us the ability to be clear to take charge of our health and to be mindful of where we are within our lives. Bringing Mindfulness to our basic autonomic functions not only improves our health but also allows us to focus and achieve what’s important in our lives.
Read Part 2 of this series: The 3 Neglected Needs Part 2 Hydration
Massage Therapy for Blood Pressure

Can Massage Therapy Help With High Blood Pressure?

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Massage Therapy to help heal the dis-ease of High Blood Pressure

 

What is high blood pressure and how can it affect your health?

High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension (HTN or HT), is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated (1). More easily understood, blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. High blood pressure typically does not cause symptoms. Long-term high blood pressure, however, is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, peripheral arterial disease, vision loss, chronic kidney disease, and dementia (2).

How does a person develop high blood pressure?

Hypertension is classified as either primary (essential) high blood pressure or secondary high blood pressure (3). About 90–95% of cases are primary, defined as high blood pressure due to nonspecific lifestyle and genetic factors. Lifestyle factors that increase the risk include excess salt in the diet, excess body weight, smoking, and alcohol use. The remaining 5–10% of cases are categorized as secondary high blood pressure, defined as high blood pressure due to an identifiable cause, such as chronic kidney disease, narrowing of the kidney arteries, an endocrine disorder, or the use of birth control pills (3).
Blood pressure is expressed by two measurements, the systolic and diastolic pressures, which are the maximum and minimum pressures, respectively. (3) For most adults, normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100–130 millimeters mercury (mmHg) systolic and 60–80 mmHg diastolic. (1) For most adults, high blood pressure is present if the resting blood pressure is persistently at or above 130/80.
New guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology were released in November 2017, lowering the definition for high blood pressure from 140/90 to 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). (4) High blood pressure affects no small number of people — about 70 million people in the United States have the condition. That means approximately one in every three Americans, or 31.3 percent, has high blood pressure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. (5)

Is high blood pressure curable?

Dr. Naomi Fisher, director of hypertension service and hypertension innovation at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says “It is well documented that lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure as much as pills can, and sometimes even more.”(4)

Massage Therapy for High Blood Pressure

In addition to lifestyle changes encompassing, lowering salt intake, alcohol, smoking and weight, massage therapy is also a safe and effective method for changing the state of stress and anxiety and thereby controlling high blood pressure.  According to an article published by the National Institutes of Health, International Journal of Preventative Medicine, the following study was conducted on a group of women diagnosed with pre-hypertension (pre-hypertension is considered as a cardiovascular disease predictor):

Methods:

This was a single-blind clinical trial study. Fifty pre-hypertensive women selected by simple random sampling which divided into control and test groups. The test group (25 patients) received Swedish massage 10-15 min, 3 times a week for 10 sessions and the control groups (25 patients) also were relaxed at the same environment with receiving no massage. Their blood pressure (BP) was measured before and after each session and 72 hours after finishing the massage therapy. Analyzing the data was done using descriptive and inferential statistical methods (Chi-square, Mann-Whitney, paired t-test and Student t-test) through SPSS software.

Results:

The results indicated that mean systolic and diastolic BP in the massage group was significantly lower in comparison with the control group (P < 0.001). Evaluation of durability of the massage effects on BP also indicated that 72 hours after finishing the study, still there was a significant difference between the test and control groups in systolic and diastolic BP (P < 0.001).

Conclusions:

Findings of the study indicated that massage therapy was a safe, effective, applicable and cost-effective intervention in controlling BP of the pre-hypertension women and it can be used in the health care centers and even at home.
As described above, scientific studies provide measurable data in support of managing and reducing high blood pressure for people suffering from the condition.  As we learn further the benefits of providing complementary therapies for individuals suffering from dis-ease, the more we may help by providing such therapies on a routine basis.
  1. Naish J, Court DS (2014). Medical sciences (2 ed.). p. 562.
  2. Lackland DT, Weber MA (May 2015). “Global burden of cardiovascular disease and stroke: hypertension at the core”. The Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 31 (5): 569–71. doi:10.1016/j.cjca.2015.01.009. PMID 25795106
  3. “High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet”. CDC. 19 February 2015. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/6-simple-tips-to-reduce-your-blood-pressure
  5. “Considering Massage for High Blood Pressure? It Helps,” Acupuncture Massage College, https://www.amcollege.edu/blog/massage-lowers-blood-pressure (2016)
  6. “Durability of Effect of Massage Therapy on Blood Pressure,” NIH, International Journal of Preventative Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3733180/ (2013)
massage therapy program in san diego at ICOHS College to help relieve sciatica

The treatment of Sciatica using Massage Therapy

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How Can Massage Therapy Help Relieve Back Pain From Sciatica?

Back pain is a common occurrence in many adults from young adults to those that are advanced in age. While there are many possible reasons for a person to develop back pain, Sciatica is one specific condition that causes pain for many. The effects of this are felt by people in many walks of life, from athletes to working men and women at desk jobs. Some of the methods used for treating this include physical therapy, pain medication and in severe cases, surgery may be used. My contention is that massage therapy possesses techniques that can be more than effective in treating this ailments pain as well as treating its causes.

What is Sciatica?

‘Sciatica’ gets its name from the part of the body that it primarily affects.Simply put, Sciatica occurs when a part of the Sciatic Nerve is compressed as a result of contracted muscles, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine) or a bone spur in its vicinity. The Sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body. It begins at the Sacral Plexus and runs down through the Iliofemoral joint and down the lower leg. Sciatica symptoms include sharp pain or dull throbbing that can remain local or can be felt radiating down from the lower back, through the buttocks and down to the back of the thigh and calf. Some of the risk factors for developing sciatica include age, physical fitness, and occupation. With advancing age, bone spurs and herniated disks become more likely to develop and cause sciatica related pain.Obesity can trigger sciatica due to the increased weight and strain on the spine, thus possibly compressing the sciatic nerve. Occupations that include heavy lifting and twisting or jobs that involve sitting for long periods of time also increase one’s risk of developing Sciatica. Treating the situations that compresses the sciatic nerve and reducing the associated inflammation are effective strategies in treating this condition.

Deep Tissue Massage Therapy for Sciatica

Massage Therapy is a powerful method for treating this condition because it utilizes techniques aimed at releasing tension in associated muscles and reducing inflammation. Studies have shown that deep tissue massage is particularly effective at achieving this goal. Deep tissue work achieves this goal by applying deep and intense pressure to myofascial tissue over a series of extended compressions. It is a versatile tool which allows for a therapist to use any part of the body best suited to accurately apply pressure to a localized area. In the case of Sciatica, a session would be targeted primarily at tissue in the lower leg, particularly those in the gluteal region. Muscles to be addressed would include but are not limited to the Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus. It would also include the muscle attachments of the hamstring muscles, which attach at the Ischial tuberosity of the lower pelvis. The Piriformis muscle is another muscle which commonly contributes to irritation of the sciatic nerve and is adjacent to the sciatic nerve. This muscle originates from the anterior portion of the sacrum and the superior aspect of the greater sciatic notch, runs through the sciatic foramen and it inserts at the anterior portion of the Greater Trochanter.
Deep tissue massage can easily address this muscle if indeed it is confirmed to be the primary agitator of the sciatic nerve. In addition to all these benefits from the implementation of deep tissue massage, Circulatory massage can be integrated into treatment to further increase blood flow to the muscles mentioned and add to their relaxation which will compliment the actions of deep tissue work.

Final Thoughts

Based on the research and findings of medical professionals, Massage Therapy offers effective and non-invasive treatment options to the pain and discomforts of Sciatica. It accomplishes this by addressing the two primary causes of the syndrome: tension and inflammation. Massage techniques use prolonged pressure and circulatory manipulation to induce release of tension in muscle tissue and increase of healing blood flow to the affected areas. These techniques are proven to have a positive effect and I encourage those who suffer from Sciatica to consider massage therapy to treat and relieve themselves and regain function and quality of life.

For more information about how to help relieve people who suffer from sciatica of their pain, check out ICOHS College’s Professional Massage Therapy Program.
By: Quenton A. Perry
How can massage help depression

Massage Therapy and Depression

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Massage Therapy and Depression

By: Jessi Wiley
9/17/2019

What is depression?

Depression is both a brain disorder and a state of mind.  It is a common, serious illness that leads to a persistent sad, anxious or “empty mood.”  Affecting almost 300 million people worldwide, it can happen to anyone, at any age, and to people of any race or ethnic group.  It is never a “normal” part of life.  Depression, which is treatable, can come from chemical imbalances in the brain, hormonal changes, medications or life events.  Though it can be treated by methods like anti-depressants and talk therapy, massage therapy is a great addition to the treatment of depression.

How can massage help with depression?

Whether a person suffers from persistent anxiety and depression or experiences stress from time to time, massage therapy can help.  More than 500 men, women, and children with a history of depression and anxiety had their cortisol, a stress hormone in the body, measured before and after a massage. After a series of studies, researchers found that massage therapy helped participants lower their levels of cortisol by more than 53 percent.  Basically, if your cortisol levels are lowered, that allows your body to produce more serotonin and boosts your ability to fight depression and anxiety.

The science behind massage and how it can help with depression

Human touch is very powerful and can help us to heal.  It is a comforting gift that is present from infancy into adulthood and takes on many forms.  For example, infants long the touch of their mother after birth and throughout adolescence, while children seek reassuring gestures from their parents.  Touch is vital for the growth and development of a child, giving them a sense of belonging and security.  Into adulthood, even a simple pat on the back can turn a bad day around.
When we come into physical contact with someone, we can experience an increase of dopamine and serotonin levels in the body.  These two neurotransmitters help to regulate our mood. With that being said, massage doesn’t just relieve aches and pains, it can literally adjust the chemicals in your brain to improve your mood, making you feel refreshed and happier.
Anything that connects your mind and body like massage can be helpful for depression. By increasing serotonin levels, connecting your mind and body, and bringing a sense of safety and comfort, regular massages can be extremely beneficial for somebody suffering from depression.
Bibliography
https://www.myotherapycollege.com/can-massage-therapy-really-help-depression-anxiety/
https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/massage-therapy
https://dynamicphysiotherapy.ca/blog/massage-therapy/how-massage-therapy-helps-with-depression/
https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/cortisol/
https://www.lifealth.com/wellness/healthy-living/why-human-touch-is-important-for-an-individual-mj/57304/

How Ayurveda Can Help Balance Your Health

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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.