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massage therapy at ICOHS College

Therapeutic Herbal Poultice Treatments

By Health, Massage Therapy No Comments

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.

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)
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.

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