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Massage Therapy

massage can benefit your immune system

Does Massage Boost the Immune System?

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Activate Your Immune System

A new study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, suggests that massage therapy can do more than just relax your muscles and help you feel better. It might also benefit your immune system since they found that people who get a massage show changes in their body’s immune and endocrine response.

According to the results of the study, massage may have caused a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol and an increased number of lymphocytes, one of the three types of white blood cells. White blood cells are important in helping the body fight off infections and sickness. They play a large role in our immune system and keeping us healthy.

There has been more research on the effect of massage therapy on the immune system. Research shows that massage therapy may reduce anxiety, depressed mood, and anger as well. It may also increase dopamine and serotonin levels, based on a study conducted on breast cancer patients. These two hormones help with elevated moods and levels of happiness and satisfaction.

Lymphatic Drainage and its Benefits

Lymphatic drainage is a gentle, painless massage technique that stimulates the drainage of the lymph to the lymph nodes activating the body’s natural functions and is an essential part of your immune system. The lymph is a colorless fluid that bathes every cell in the body. The lymph is circulated by massage and physical exercise.  Many tissues depend on the lymph to provide nutrients and to carry off wastes. If the lymph does not circulate, the tissues suffocate while stewing in their own acidic waste products like uric acid and lactic acid. This can increase the chance of developing illnesses such as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a result of a toxic lymph system, which is now one of the most rapidly growing cancers in the United States.

Getting a lymphatic drainage helps:

·         Activate the immune system: by stimulating the flow of lymph through the lymphatic system, invasive toxins in the body are pushed towards the lymph nodes where they can be analyzed and destroyed.

·         Reduce levels of cortisol (the hormone of stress): cortisol is reduced when you receive a lymphatic drainage massage. As a result, you will feel immense relaxation as well.
·         Relieve pain: poor circulation can cause pain and swelling from excess fluid stored in wrong areas around the body. When the lymph nodes are activated and decongested the pain and swelling disappear.

These are benefits that affect not only the body, but also the mind. A lymphatic drainage treatment along with other healthy habits, helps you against seasonal viruses and allows you to feel more relaxed and healthier. That’s why it’s so important to keep your lymph system healthy.

Between 2017 and 2018, 19 percent of American adults received at least one massage according to the American Massage Therapy Association. The report states that most adults that went to get a massage got one because they wanted to relax or for health and wellness reasons. So, pampering yourself once in a while can also really help you build a stronger immune system.

Massage therapy is a growing industry with research on its benefits continuously being conducted. It’s a craft that people need to be trained in so they can help improve the lives of others.

If you are interested in learning more about massage therapy or becoming a massage therapist, click here to learn more about our programs and our massage school in San Diego.

References

American Massage Therapy Association. (2018) Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.amtamassage.org/infocenter/economic_industry-fact-sheet.html

Mark Hyman Rapaport, Pamela Schettler, and Catherine Bresee. (2010) The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 1079-1088.

Hernandezreif, M. (2004). Breast Cancer Patients Have Improved Immune And Neuroendocrine Functions Following Massage Therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 45-52.
Cupping is an ancient healing technique used by Chinese with evidence dating back to Egyptians, Arabs, and the middle ages.

What is Cupping or Cupping Therapy?

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Cupping Therapy: An Ancient Healing Technique Still Present in the Modern Day

The Suction Cups (Bá Guàn 拔罐 in Chinese), is an ancient technique that comes from traditional Chinese medicine, cupping therapy basically consists in using suction cups that adhere to the skin at specific points by the vacuum that is created within them.

There is evidence that not only the Chinese used it but also the Egyptians, Arabs, Greeks and in Europe during the Middle Ages, they were built of bamboo, glass, clay, bronze. Today they are usually made of glass or plastic.

Suction cup massage and other application methods

Although formerly cupping suckers could be ceramic, clay or bamboo, nowadays they are made of glass or plastic (with or without valve). In glass, this vacuum is obtained following the traditional method: by lighting a piece of cotton inside it to perform the combustion of oxygen and thus generate the vacuum once the suction cup is placed on the skin. The professional can resort to different methods of application with their manipulation, according to the objectives of the treatment:

 

  • To free the body of toxins that circulate in the blood and lymph. This type of massage requires previously applying oil on the skin to easily slide the suction cup, which is usually plastic.
  • Application and rapid extraction or flash cupping: this method is usually done with glass suction cups and is recommended to apply specifically on the back, for purposes of pulmonary decongestion. It is based on the placement of a suction cup for 2 or 3 seconds on a specific point and its withdrawal with a rapid movement. The process is repeated until the tour of the entire area to be treated is completed.
  • Fixed suction cup or retained cupping: This technique is recommended to treat organic reflex areas at their reflex points in the back and also for the treatment of the points of maximum pain, the so-called trigger points, usually caused by severe contractures and structural blockages. It consists of leaving the suction cups on the skin for a few minutes, at specific points determined.
  • Suction cup bleeding or needing cupping: it is a recommended method to reduce tension in highly inflamed or congested areas of the body through a slight blood draw. The skin is gently punctured to then place the fixed suction cup until the body releases the necessary amount.(Al-Bedah, 2019)

 

Muscle, energy and circulatory benefits

The experience of professionals who apply cupping and that of the patients themselves who undergo it allows us to say that the application of this therapy entails numerous health benefits of various kinds, sometimes in a preventive and another rehabilitative manner. Among them, the following:

  • Increased blood and lymphatic circulation.
  • Decreased pain.
  • Detoxification of impurities.
  • Work on contractures.
  • Work at the energy level.
  • Stimulation of metabolism and defenses.
  • Relaxing, analgesic and anti-inflammatory.
  • Debugging and myofascial release.
  • Strengthening tendons.
  • Improvement in disorders of the digestive system.
  • Reduction of allergy symptoms and chronic fatigue.
  • Evacuation of retained liquids.
  • Improvement in the absorption of edema. (Castro, 2018)

 

Role in sport and scientific evidence of cupping

After a cupping session, also known as cupping therapy, it is possible to reduce muscle pain and fatigue, reduce inflammation and accelerate recovery. Hence, many high-performance athletes, such as athletes and Olympic swimmers, often use this technique to recover their physical condition quickly when they are in competition. In addition to resorting to it to eliminate contractures and prevent injuries.

A recent study on cupping, New is the well-forgotten old: The use of dry cupping in musculoskeletal medicine ensures that there is initial scientific evidence on its effectiveness in reducing musculoskeletal pain. There are also works that underpin the validity of cupping therapy for back pain by stopping inflammatory processes. And postulates that recommend it when it comes to the autonomic nervous system and reduces pain. Now, it is true that new scientific papers are needed that provide more light on their real clinical and therapeutic effects. (Rozenfeld & Kalichman, 2015)

From the point of view of Western medicine, it is necessary to continue researching about this therapy and its scientific evidence. In this sense, professionals of Traditional Chinese Medicine recommend research aimed at standardizing protocols, types of suction cups, number of sessions and frequencies, etc. On the other hand, as it is an alternative therapy, the placebo effect may be at the origin of its benefits, since there are not enough studies to verify the number of benefits attributed to it.

What risks can the application of Cupping or suction cups have?

In the hands of an expert professional, the use of suction cups is a simple and meticulous job, without risk to the patient, who in turn will begin to feel the improvements he was looking for. However, it is advisable to convey security and confidence at all times, explain slightly what will be the method to be applied, tell you that you may feel some discomfort and warn you about the reddish appearance of the skin after the session. Normally, it shows circular welts or purple spots, the product of suction and blood flow congestion. But in a few days, these bruises disappear naturally.

Bibliography

Al-Bedah. (2019). The medical perspective of cupping therapy: Effects and mechanisms of action. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.

Castro. (2018). Cupping therapy and chronic back pain: systematic review and meta-analysis. Elsevier.

Rozenfeld & Kalichman. (2015). New is the well-forgotten old: The use of dry cupping in musculoskeletal medicine. Beër Sjeva: Elsevier.

Hot Stone Massage at ICOHS College

8 Types of Massage

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Which Type of Massage Best Suits Your Needs?

There are over 80 types of massage and each one of them with its own unique characteristics and benefits. Being aware of the different kinds of massage techniques is important to help you choose the right massage technique for your body.

From helping with stress relief, injury recovery, to pain management, here are the main types of massage you can probably find near you:

1- Swedish massage

Swedish massage is a gentle type of full-body massage that’s ideal for people who:

are new to massage
have a lot of tension
are sensitive to touch

It can help release knots in the muscles, and it is a great choice for people who want to fully relax. The massage therapist moves the sheet properly to uncover only areas that they actively work on, like feet, back, legs, arms and head.

The massage therapist will use a combination of:

kneading
long, flowing strokes in the direction of the heart
vibration and tapping
passive joint movement techniques
deep circular motions

2- Hot stone massage

If you have muscle pain and tension or who simply want to relax, this type of therapeutic massage is very similar to Swedish massage, but the massage therapist uses heated stones instead of or in addition to their hands. Hot stone massage:

Eases muscle tension
improves blood flow
alleviates pain
promotes relaxation
relieves stress

During a hot stone massage, heated stones are placed on different areas around your whole body. Your therapist may hold a stone as they massage different parts of your body using Swedish massage techniques using gentle pressure. Sometimes cold stones are used as well.

3.Aromatherapy massage

Aromatherapy massages are good for people who want to have an emotional healing component to their massage. This kind of massage can help:

boost your mood
reduce stress and anxiety
reduce symptoms of depression
relieve muscle tension
relieve pain

Aromatherapy massages combine soft, gentle pressure with the use of essential oils. The massage therapist will usually decide which essential oils to use, but you can let them know if you have a preference. Essential oils are diluted before being applied to the skin.

4. Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage uses more pressure than a Swedish massage. It’s good for chronic muscle problems, like soreness, injury, or imbalance. It can help relieve tight muscles, chronic muscle pain, and anxiety.

The massage therapist uses slow strokes and deep finger pressure during the massage to relieve tension from the deepest layers of muscles and connective tissues. This technique is a little bit more intense, but shouldn’t feel painful.

5. Sports massage

Sports massage is used to treat repetitive use injury to a muscle, that people normally get from playing sports. It also helps with the prevention of sports injuries. You may also use sports massage to increase flexibility and performance. Additionally, sports massage can be used to relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.

A sports massage can be done as a full-body massage or the massage therapist may focus on the specific parts of the body that need the most attention. Deep pressure massage may be alternated with soothing strokes.

6. Cupping Therapy

Cupping is an alternative therapy that originated in China. It involves placing cups on the skin to create suction and increase blood circulation to the area where the cups are placed. This technique helps relieve muscle tension, which can improve overall blood flow and promote cell repair. It may also help form new connective tissues and create new blood vessels in the tissue. The cups can be manipulated to help release fascial restrictions in the soft tissue.

7. Trigger point massage

Trigger point massages are suited for people with injuries, chronic pain, or a specific issue or condition. Sometimes areas of tightness in the muscle tissues, known as trigger points, can cause pain in other parts of the body. By focusing on relieving trigger points, this kind of massage can help reduce pain.

Trigger point massage uses broader, flowing strokes that are gentle and relaxing combined with stronger, deeper pressure. The massage includes work on the entire body, however, the therapist may focus on specific areas of the body that may need release.

8. Prenatal massage

Prenatal massage helps reduce pregnancy body aches, reduce stress, and ease muscle tension. It can be done at any time during pregnancy, however, women are advised not to have them in the first three months due to the risk of miscarriage.

Prenatal massage uses mild pressure and the therapist focuses on areas such as lower back, hips, and legs. During the massage, women lie on their side with pillows placed around them for support and comfort. If women report pain in their calves or other parts of the legs, they should see a doctor before getting a massage.

 

If you’re interested in a career in massage therapy, click here to find out more.

Craniosacral Massage at ICOHS College

What Is Craniosacral Therapy?

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Craniosacral therapy is a revolutionary therapy that can help

In the past fifty to sixty years, the professional massage industry has expanded tremendously, widening its reach with the development of unique new therapies and other forms of alternative treatment.

One such innovative therapy is known as Craniosacral therapy, and it was developed in the 1970s by an osteopath by the name of John E. Upledger. After many years of research and clinical testing at Michigan State University, the therapy was more or less solidified and pioneered.

While the effectiveness of Craniosacral therapy has been largely debated over the past couple of decades, there are many who have benefited tremendously through its practice, and for this reason, it is still conducted by a multitude of certified professional massage therapists.

In this article, we will focus on explaining what Craniosacral therapy is all about, in addition to its considered benefits. This hopefully can serve as a resource for those interested in potentially getting certified as Craniosacral therapists, or for someone who would like to either integrate the practice into their life or into their career.

While we don’t specifically offer courses to get certified as a practitioner of Craniosacral therapy at ICOHS College, we do have a Professional Massage Therapist program, designed to provide students with hands-on training and the advanced skills needed to pursue a career in this highly rewarding and giving field.

What Is Craniosacral Therapy?

Typically utilized by chiropractors, osteopaths, and certified massage practitioners, Craniosacral therapy is an alternative massage practice and a form of cranial osteopathy that involves the use of gentle touch. These gentle movements manipulate various parts of the skull or cranium, spine, and pelvis, primarily adjusting the joints.

These light manipulations are said by some practitioners to help manage a variety of diseases and medical conditions. However, as with many alternative practices, Craniosacral therapy is susceptible to much criticism and skepticism, hence why there are plenty of people who do not believe in its benefits.

For those who do support Craniosacral therapy’s uses, it is an ideal form of management for the process is non-invasive and treats the body very delicately, making it suitable for even those with extreme pain or discomfort.

The Upledger Institute describes the touch of Craniosacral therapy as “a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel”.

Considered more of a preventative health measure that helps increase the body’s ability to manage and deal with disease and various ailments, these mild manipulations function in the sense that they improve the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid, along with freeing restrictions throughout the central nervous system, predominantly throughout the soft tissues that surround it.

Since the craniosacral system heavily influences the central nervous system, both of these connect closely and influence one another. The gentle manipulations of these regions encourage equilibrium around the spinal cord and brain, which in turn helps the body to naturally correct itself and prevent the furthering of a variety of dysfunctions and ailments.

Osteopaths often will prescribe treatments of CST (Craniosacral therapy) alongside other forms of therapies, but sometimes Craniosacral therapy is also used in a stand-alone way depending on the individual needs of the patient.

Craniosacral Therapy: The Benefits

Practitioners of CST have utilized the therapy for a number of ailments and conditions. While few studies have been conducted to prove Craniosacral therapy’s efficacy for illness, the Upledger Institute does list a number of conditions that CST has addressed including:

● Chronic fatigue
● Spinal cord and brain injuries
● TMJ syndrome
● Fibromyalgia
● ADD/ADHD
● PTSD
● Headaches and migraines
● Traumatic brain injury and concussion
● Chronic pain, especially throughout the back and neck regions
● Scoliosis
● CNS disorders
● Orthopedic conditions

While this list is fairly comprehensive, if you are considering receiving CST, be sure to speak with a qualified, trained Craniosacral therapy professional who can devise a course of action for the specific needs of your circumstances.

Understanding Craniosacral Therapy: Final Thoughts

Now that the practice of Craniosacral therapy has been presented, you can hopefully decide better if this is the right therapy or even career choice for you. As with all things in life, Craniosacral therapy is not a one shoe fits all solution.

For some, Craniosacral therapy is immensely helpful, healing, and restorative. Yet, there is not an extensive amount of comprehensive research available to strongly scientifically back up claims made of its effectiveness.

In all reality, CST is not a practice that is of benefit to everyone, so it is important to decide for yourself how you feel about it and commit to further in-depth research on the topic. The advantage here is that there is very low risk involved in receiving Craniosacral therapy, so the positive effects could far outweigh the negatives or any potential hazards.

If you are located in the San Diego area and are interested in studying to become a Professional Massage Therapist, at ICOHS College we offer this exact program designed for prospective students to learn the advanced skills and gain the practical training needed to pursue this career path.

Our Professional Massage Therapist program goes far beyond the standards set by the California Massage Therapy Council. While we don’t offer training on Craniosacral therapy specifically, we do have a number of other educational and exciting classes available, including:

● Energy Channels & Acupoints – Tui Na
● Shiatsu – Zen Touch
● Kinesiology
● Client Assessment
● Physiology/Pathology
● Business Practices
● Special Populations
● Communications, Ethics and Career Prep
● MBLEx Preparation
● Practicum – Clinic & Community Outreach
● Fundamentals of Holistic Health
● Anatomy and Massage
● Strategies for Success
● Touch Anatomy
● Circulatory Massage
● Deep Tissue Massage
● Passive Joint Mobilization
● Anatomy with Manikins
● Eastern Perspectives
● Chi Integrated Exercises

These courses prepare students to pursue careers as entrepreneurs and massage business owners, along with careers in settings such as doctor’s offices, chiropractor’s offices, nursing homes, hospitals, holistic health clinics, cruise ships, spas and resorts, massage therapy clinics, and health clubs/fitness centers.

Our dedicated educators are passionate about seeing their students succeed and fully pursue their professional goals.

Does this sound like the right next step for you in your education path? Reach out to us today and request more information about our Professional Massage Therapist program.

oils for massage, massage oils

The Benefits of Using Massage Oils

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What are massage oils for?

Massage oils are products that help us to perform this activity more easily, since, in addition to allowing our hands to slide more easily, they also hydrate and treat the skin and also allow us to choose from a large list of aromas and essences that promote certain sensations and help to calm body or mood ailments. Massage oils are a great help in all aspects.

Benefits of massage oils

The benefits that oils provide us for massages range from the fact that the touch allows us to better perform the massages, passing through the aromas that it transmits and the sensation they provide, among many other things.

They facilitate the movements

It would be almost impossible to perform a massage with dry hands, as well as it is difficult to perform them with normal moisturizer since the touch is never the same as with oils. Therefore, we know that nothing helps the hands to slide on the skin in the same way that occurs with oils to perform massages.

Aromatize

Each essential oil has a different aroma and each of them helps us to cause some sensations in our body. Depending on each case, it can help us to relax, to release stress, to motivate us, to be happier, to improve our self-esteem. In cases where the aromas are excessively strong or the person undergoing the massage is very sensitive to certain aromas, there is the possibility of making a mixture of the essential oil chosen with a neutral or natural one that reduces the smell and reduces its intensity, thus the massage will be more comfortable and pleasant.

The oils relieve pain and tensions

Massages with oils not only help us to relax the person who receives it, but it also serves to relieve certain pain. And it is that most massages are performed in areas such as the neck, back or legs, areas that suffer from ailments due to sports injuries, poor postures when walking or bad postures when sleeping or working. Massages with oils help us to eliminate these tensions and for the body to recover its previous health.

Great benefits at low prices

Another of the great benefits that oils have for massages compared to other products is the fact that they are truly economical. Apart from being natural and having many properties, it is a product that can be purchased at truly reasonable prices.

The oils care and nourish the skin

Apart from achieving lasting and effective benefits thanks to a muscle massage with oils, these also allow us to enjoy a feeling of hydration and softness in our skin that remains for a long time. And, in addition to moisturizing it, the oil helps to eliminate skin scars, to reduce stretch marks and to cure eczema that often appears due to dermatitis or any other problem that derives from the skin.

What oils can be used for a massage?

Aloe Vera massage oil

Aloe Vera is a healing and therapeutic ingredient for almost any medical condition. The moisturizing oil made with aloe Vera can also be used to perform massages, so we will improve the appearance and elasticity of our skin while improving it internally and externally.

Chamomile oil

If we are going to do a massage to cure some type of ailment caused by an excess of exercise, the best treatment is with chamomile oil, which also defeats insomnia, helping to better sleep, as well as improving the state of the nerves.

Orchid oil for massages

The aroma of orchids is special to perform any type of massage, as well as the relaxation that can transmit in people. In times of high stress, the best treatment that can be performed is a massage with this essential oil of orchids, since it almost immediately improves the accumulated nerves and tension.

Lemon oil

If we want the massage to also provide aphrodisiac properties, the best oil with which we can perform it is, without a doubt, a citrus one, such as lemon oil. This massage oil helps eliminate bad energies completely transforming them into good feelings.

Lavender essential oil for muscle aches

Often, due to the bad postures we adopt sleeping, walking or working, we can capture tension and pain in some areas of the body such as the back or neck. To solve these problems with a massage the best option is lavender oil, which will help improve the elasticity of these areas and eliminate tension and help them relax thanks to their therapeutic aroma.

Eucalyptus oil

Another of the oils with a long list of properties is eucalyptus oil, and this aromatic oil is able to eliminate muscle problems, in addition to not only being perfect for use in the body, but also suitable for Massages on the face (careful with the eyes), being perfect to relieve tensions.

Almond oil massages

When we talk about oils, we cannot leave aside that of almonds, since it has many properties, not forgetting that of being able to perform massages with it. And, while helping to eliminate tensions, almond oil provides a lot of nutrients and vitamins to the skin and helps the skin stay constantly hydrated, sporting a spectacular brightness and luminosity.

Foot massages with mint

One of the oils that often fall into oblivion is pepper oil, which mixed with the essential oil of peppermint is totally recommended for use in foot massages, as it brings relief and freshness.
Massages are necessary for day to day to help eliminate tensions, but it is also necessary to use the right oil for every need or medical condition because thanks to them we can help to improve the condition of the skin and of the muscles.
There are different ways to classify massage oils, since they do not all provide the same properties, nor do they serve the same purposes or have the same fluidity. That is why we can classify them in different ways to know what massage oil we are buying or which one we need.
#MariCarmenEsteve
massage therapy at ICOHS College

Therapeutic Herbal Poultice Treatments

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A glance at this unique ancient massage technique

In this fast-moving world, everything is always changing – and what seems like lightning speed. This is especially true for trends. Spa trends are no different, however, some seem to latch on for longer periods of time than others.

One steadily increasing trend in the bodywork field is known as therapeutic herbal poultice treatments. These treatments complement massage practices, and while they have only started trending over the course of the past few years, this technique actually originates from ancient times hailing from the practices of various indigenous groups.

One of the best-known origins is 14th century Thailand, where a similar hot pack was applied to war-soldiers that were coming back from battle. The combination of the heat, along with medicinal herbs, made it a promising solution for those in pain and discomfort, and also caused its more modern version, the herbal poultice treatment, to become an integral part of Thai medicine.

What Are Therapeutic Herbal Poultice Treatments?

At ICOHS College, we offer a comprehensive Professional Massage Therapist program that is crafted with each student’s goals and intentions in mind. For those who are passionate about massage and are interested in becoming licensed massage therapists, learning more about the therapeutic herbal poultice treatment is potentially useful information.

These steamed pouches are then stamped, rocked, and kneaded along the body utilizing a specialized technique that is designed to optimize the therapeutic benefits of the practice.

The ingredients that fill these poultice sacks can vary from region to region and are dependent upon where the treatment is conducted, but it is common for lemongrass, turmeric, camphor, ginger, and Kaffir lime to be a part of the mix. In some places, rice or sand are also added for additional stimulation and further impact.

In reality, however, a number of herbal combinations can be utilized to fill up these poultice pouches. Aside from the ingredients we just mentioned, ground peppercorns, dried rosemary, crushed bay leaves, sage, sandalwood, coriander, cloves, and a variety of essential oils are often selected.

This large variety of herbs can produce effects such as the stimulation of the lymphatic system, the regeneration of connective tissue, the toning of the skin, the easing of muscle spasms and aches, the aiding of the reduction of inflammation, the boosting of the immune system, and the stimulation of the central nervous system.

Who Can Benefit from Therapeutic Herbal Poultice Treatments?

While traditional massage practices do work their way deep into the body’s muscles and tissues, therapeutic herbal poultice treatments allow for an even more intense level of stimulation which supports lymphatic drainage and encourages better circulation.

While there is limited medical, peer-reviewed evidence as to the actual benefits of therapeutic herbal poultice treatments, those who regularly receive the technique comment on its abilities to improve a number of aspects.

Practitioners of herbal poultice treatments typically recommend this practice to those who are hoping to better manage muscle pain or hormonal imbalances, along with those recovering from illness or suspect they will soon be ill. Finally, this treatment is said to be especially beneficial for those experiencing feelings of lethargy and jet lag, for it has a naturally rejuvenating ability.

Final Thoughts: Therapeutic Herbal Poultice Treatments

When it comes to massage and bodywork, there are many techniques and practices available that can complement this therapy and improve wellness. It is vital to know your options and to select what you think might be best for you.

If you are unsure of where to start, get in touch with a licensed massage therapist who can advise you on what they believe may be best for your own unique needs. As bodywork professionals, massage therapists are happy to work closely with their clients and devise a system or program that is ideal for each person.

While herbal poultice treatments are certainly a preferred option by some, they are not suited to everyone. For this reason, the information above offers some core knowledge about this technique so that one can create an informed decision.

If you are interested in becoming a professional massage therapist and are located in the San Diego area, ICOHS College is a non-profit vocational college offering a program for this exact career path. We offer a comprehensive Professional Massage Therapist program that is crafted with each student’s goals and intentions in mind. For those who are passionate about massage and are interested in becoming licensed massage therapists, learning more about the therapeutic herbal poultice treatment is potentially useful information.

The courses we offer in our Professional Massage Therapist program includes:

● Energy Channels & Acupoints – Tui Na
● Shiatsu – Zen Touch
● Kinesiology
● Client Assessment
● Physiology/Pathology
● Business Practices
● Special Populations
● Communications, Ethics and Career Prep
● MBLEx Preparation
● Practicum – Clinic & Community Outreach
● Fundamentals of Holistic Health
● Anatomy and Massage
● Strategies for Success
● Touch Anatomy
● Circulatory Massage
● Deep Tissue Massage
● Passive Joint Mobilization
● Anatomy with Manikins
● Eastern Perspectives
● Chi Integrated Exercises

Studying professional massage therapy can actually prepare you for a budding career in a number of different environments including spas and resorts, nursing homes, chiropractic offices, hospitals, doctor’s offices, entrepreneurship opportunities, cruise ships, holistic health clinics, health clubs and fitness centers, and massage therapy clinics. Depending on the desired environment, additional training may be required as per an employer’s request, but our program offers the foundational and most vital first step in this education path.

Our Professional Massage Therapist program far exceeds the California Massage Therapy Council’s standards for massage therapists in the state of California, and both hands-on training and advanced education are offered to students so that they can also gain practical experience.

With so many options to choose from and the support of our passionate team of educators, ICOHS College gets you prepared for a fruitful career path in professional massage therapy. Reach out to us today to start your path to a new career.

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!

 

 

 

ICOHS is a WIOA approved college

What is WIOA and How to Use it to Your Advantage

By Community, Financial Assistance, IT, Massage Therapy No Comments

What Is WIOA?

Finding opportunities in education can be difficult at the best of times. Still, over the last couple of years, a government program called WIOA has been trying to make the process more accessible than ever.
 
You may have heard the term WIOA occasionally bandied about during recent political years, or even online if you are looking for employment or educational support. But what exactly is WIOA? The term itself stands for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and it does exactly what it claims on the tin. The bill’s purpose was to ease the employment hardship that many Americans had found in the previous years.
Enforced in 2014 during the Obama presidential years, the original bill was founded because many senators believed that there was a strong disparity between job creation and unemployment. This idea was often spoken about by Senator Lamar Alexander, who said that:
“it’s too hard to find a job. It’s too hard to create a job. We have some differences of opinion on what to do about it, but I think we agree that matching job skills to a job is a solution to millions of Americans.”
The bill found support and was signed with Obama’s approval on the 22nd of July, 2014. The intention of the bill was to reduce unemployment, not only for those simply out of work but who found it harder than most to find work. The main force behind the bill is described well by this official government page, which is dedicated to all things WIOA.
“WIOA is landmark legislation that is designed to strengthen and improve our nation’s public workforce system and help get Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers and help employers hire and retain skilled workers.”
You may find that this description resonates with you if seeking employment has been far from easy. So whether you are looking to jump straight into a job or are planning on going back to school and choosing to study in a particular field, you may find WIOA beneficial. Schools, such as ICOHS, offer to take a WIOA grant, meaning you can study one of their courses for a lower price.

Who Can Use WIOA?

So who exactly can use WIOA? If you’ve researched the topic before, you may have found that it wasn’t the easiest concept to understand. Like we reiterated earlier, the main idea is providing a fairer working or skill-building opportunity to those who are considered to be in a more vulnerable position than most. And you may find this list broader than you initially thought. It can mean individuals who live with a mental or physical disability, those who have experienced incarceration, veterans, individuals who have grown up within the foster care system, or those who simply need to re-enter the workforce with a new skill-set.

What Resources Can WIOA Provide?

With the bill supporting 2,400 American job centers across the country, it can help you find access to an extensive range of jobs. Not only is this great for the people searching for jobs, but it enables job sectors who are struggling to find employees a new resource pool, helping to stabilize the economy.
WIOA offers a range of tools that you can use to further your education and career; they can be allocated into four different ‘titles’. These are summarized below.
Title I: This encompasses a large portion of the act and primarily oversees the ‘workforce development system’. It ensures that those from lower-income backgrounds are still able to express a degree of choice in their education.
Title II: This is the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, or AEFLA. This title not only promotes but provides learning and support to adults who need to gain functional English literacy.
Title III: This title is an evolution of the Wagner-Peyser Act of 1933, which traditionally controls the Employment Service or ES.
Title IV: This amends the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; it aims to provide care, support, and rehabilitation for adults and families who live with a disability.

How Can WIOA Help You Study?

The WIOA act has tried to cover all aspects of employment in its policy. There are many other ways in which a WIOA can help prepare you for work:
●     By assisting with your job search, and providing counsel to the current job market
●     Giving you access to a variety of self-help tools, including; computers, online programs, and photocopiers
●     Social services, such as practice interviews and techniques
●     Providing knowledge about compensation for unemployment
●     Group services, such as workshops and job clubs
●     Funding and grants for those who wish to learn a skill-set
WIOA is a great step to take if you want to re-enter the working world, and that can begin with education. Many career paths require a level of education, or a specialized skill-set in order to excel in that field. So whether you want to specialize in holistic medicine or business theory, further education is essential. However, this doesn’t come cheap, and college fees can often amas to crippling debt and unsavory repayments.
By applying for an educational grant from WIOA, you can make these goals accessible. They can support you financially so that you can learn all the essential skills you need to achieve the job of your dreams.

How to Use WIOA?

If you think you might be eligible to apply for a WIOA, you can follow the application process through each state’s webpage. For applicants in the state of California, you can access it from the CaliJobs site.
Many schools, such as ICOHS, accept the WIOA grant increasing your course diversity. At ICOHS, you can study a range of holistic and wellness programs that include; Professional Massage Therapist and Holistic Health Practitioner. We also offer classes geared towards technology education; this includes courses such as IT Systems Administrator and IT Network Specialist.
We make the application process as easy as possible and even offer WIOA guidance for those who are searching for it. Reach out and discover if you qualify for the WIOA grant and work towards your future career and goals. Get more information at ICOHS College.

Massage Therapy for Blood Pressure

Can Massage Therapy Help With High Blood Pressure?

By Health, Massage Therapy No Comments

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

By Health, Massage Therapy No Comments

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
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