Fathers, husbands and father figures work so hard to take care of us that sometimes they ignore or forget to take care of themselves. If your Dad deserves a little pampering but would never splurge on himself, send him to the Spa. The Spa of Essex has the tools Dads really want.
from Grooming Lounge ($25)
Dads who suit up and mean business will love the shave they get with Grooming Lounge’s “The Greatest Shave Ever” Try Me Kit. TSA friendly, this travel shave kit packs plenty of punch for the on-the-go man.
from The Spa of Essex (Starting at $79+ per month)
What Dad would turn down red carpet treatment? With member-exclusive benefits, special discounts, premium services and rewards, Dad can enjoy VIP treatment the entire year with a Spa Membership.
Any Dad that has a physical job, plays sport for leisure or simply does yard work can benefit from using Biofreeze. Biofreeze provides temporary relief from minor aches and pains of sore muscles and joints associated with simple backache, arthritis, bruises, strains and sprains.
60 Minutes (120+)
Team up with The Spa of Essex to give Dad a massage fit for a champion. Dad doesn’t have to be an athlete to benefit from a Sports Massage. Perfect for the Dad who has a physically demanding job or just wants to improve his day-to-day performance.
from The Spa of Essex ($25+ per month plus $100 annual service fee)
Give Dad some much-needed R&R. With an Annual Membership to the Sauna & Steam Lounge, Dad will receive unlimited use of the Sauna & Steam Lounge during Spa business hours. He can stop in at lunch, after the gym or simply decompress after a long day.
6. Just for Men
3 Hours and 30 Minutes ($257++)
An experience fit for any Man. Present Dad with a day of pampering at the Spa. Make him feel like a King with a Just for Men Treatment – 60 Minute Swedish Massage, Gentlemen’s Facial, Classic Pedicure and Classic Manicure.
60 Minutes ($100++)
All Dads will put on a happy face when gifted a RA for Men Facial experience. A deep cleansing facial created for the special needs of a man. This treatment is created to cleanse, soothe razor burn and sensitivity, and rejuvenate a man’s skin.
8. Gift Card
(available in any denomination)
A Spa Gift Card is the best way to say I love you to the World’s #1 Dad. Dads work hard to do what they do, so why not give them the gift of relaxation, health and wellness.
Father’s Day is around the corner! Power tools, the typical tie or carwash coupon is usually the go-to gift. Change it up this year and encourage dad to swap the suit for a robe.
Photo Credit: Benson Kua
One of the well-documented benefits of massage therapy is improved blood flow.
Not only does a mother-to-be enjoy the perks of enhanced circulation, but the fetus also realizes important health advantages before and after birth.
During pregnancy at about week 24, cardiac output peaks and blood volume increases 30 to 50 percent, and then begins to drop at week 30. Blood flow to the kidneys increases by 35 percent and its filtering function rises by 40 percent, putting pressure on the kidneys.
These changes in circulation can cause swelling, especially in the legs and feet, due to the elevated blood volume and pressure on veins in the lower extremities. Fatigue and sometimes headaches are the end result. Even worse, the mother may develop hemorrhoids because of restricted blood flow to the lower half of her body.
Benefits for Mom-to-Be
During pregnancy, the strokes of Massage activate the nervous system, which, in turn, causes blood to circulate more freely. Enhanced circulation improves oxygen in the blood, heart and arteries and makes blood flow more freely, preventing or minimizing the risk of edema.
Good circulation also promotes cell growth, helps organs function better and improves the health and appearance of skin, providing some protection against bacteria and infection. Better circulation reduces heart rate, helping heart muscles to relax, and regulates blood pressure. Moreover, circulation enhances brain function and enables the mom-to-be to handle stress better.
For the fetus, massage during pregnancy increases systemic blood circulation so oxygen and nutrients can reach fetal cells, providing greater nourishment and a better health index for the growing baby. The nutrients the baby receives in utero help determine physical and medical conditions later in life.
Here’s how it works: The fetus receives its nutritional needs through the placenta, a temporary organ made of blood vessels and membranes. The blood travels through the mother’s arteries into the placenta and then moves through the umbilical cord to the fetus. At this point, the fetus extracts the nutrients and the oxygen it needs and sends deoxygenated blood back to the placenta through the two umbilical arteries in the umbilical cord. This deoxygenated blood circulates back into the mother’s cardiovascular system and through her veins to the lungs for oxygenation.
If circulation is poor, a fetus can become undernourished and may compensate for lack of nutrition by expanding the surface of the placenta to extract more nutrients from the mother. Additionally, restricted blood flow to the fetus could result in intrauterine growth restriction. Inadequate circulation can have serious consequences on the mother as well. She could also become anemic.
Massage during pregnancy might help avoid a dangerous rise in blood pressure and a subsequent appearance of protein in urine may signal the development of preeclampsia, a life-threatening condition that could lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure or death for the mother or baby.
Once you understand the importance of good circulation during pregnancy, you’ll welcome an opportunity to “pump it up.”
Feeling sluggish or out of sync? Struggling with skin problems, aches and pains, or digestive problems? Can’t seem to lose weight? It might be time for a body detox.
Practiced for centuries by cultures around the world — including ayurvedic and Chinese medicine systems — detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.
How does detoxification work?
Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. This is done by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.
A detox program can help the body’s natural cleansing process by:
1. Resting the organs through fasting;
2. Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body;
3. Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin;
4. Improving circulation of the blood; and
5. Refueling the body with healthy nutrients.
“Detoxification works because it addresses the needs of individual cells, the smallest units of human life,” says Peter Bennett, N.D., co-author of 7-Day Detox Miracle with Stephen Barrie, N.D., and Sara Faye.
How do you know if you need to detoxify?
Bennett suggests that everyone should detox at least once a year. However, Bennett cautions against detoxing for nursing mothers, children, and patients with chronic degenerative diseases, cancer or tuberculosis. Consult your healthcare practitioner if you have questions about whether detoxing is right for you.
Today, with more toxins in the environment than ever, “it’s critical to detox,” says Linda Page, N.D., Ph.D., the author of Detoxification. Page recommends detoxing for symptoms such as:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Sluggish elimination
- Irritated skin
- Low-grade infections
- Puffy eye or bags under the eyes
- Menstrual problems
- Mental confusion
How do you start a detox?
First, lighten up your toxin load. Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process. Also, minimize use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes), and substitute natural alternatives.
Another deterrent to good health is stress, which triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. Yoga, Qigong and meditation are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring.
Which detox program is right for you?
There are many detoxification programs and detox recipes, depending on your individual needs. Many programs follow a 7-day schedule because, as Bennett explains, “it takes the body time to clean the blood.” His program involves fasting on liquids for two days, followed by a carefully-planned five-day detox diet to allow the digestive system to rest. Page recommends a 3-7 day juice fast (drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juices and water) as an effective way to release toxins.
Here are our five favorite detox diets:
Top 10 ways to help your body detoxify
After a detoxification program, you can cleanse your body daily with these diet, supplements and lifestyle practices:
- Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods.
- Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
- Take vitamin C, which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
- Drink at least two quarts of water a day.
- Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
- Transform stress by emphasizing positive emotions.
- Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
- Sweat in a sauna so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration.
- Dry-brush your skin or try detox foot spas/foot baths to remove toxins through your pores. Special brushes are available at natural products stores.
- What is the most important way to detoxify? “Exercise,” says Bennett. “Yoga or jump-roping are good. One hour every day.” Also try Qigong, a martial-arts based exercise system that includes exercises specifically for detoxifying or cleansing, as well as many other exercises with specific health benefits.
Source: Article by Deborahann Smith, www.life.gaiam.com
The main goal of Pure Inventions to achieve the wellness of the whole person in a way that is easy, convenient and simple. Hectic Schedule? Pure Inventions is the answer to wellness on the go!
All of the product lines (Specialty Solutions, Green Tea Extracts, Antioxidant Super Fruits) in the Pure Inventions collection are delicious tasting, all natural, fully standardized, and have no calories, no caffeine, no artificial sweeteners, no preservatives or alcohol and are gluten- free. The delivery system (60 servings in a 2 ounce glass bottle) is eco-friendly and convenient.
Just add to your favorite water for high antioxidant hydration.
When we supply our bodies with the proper nutrients, diet and exercise we achieve balance in our bodies and in our lives. We can then achieve our highest aspirations of health, wellness and peak performance
Pure Invention’s Philosophy
Pure Inventions has created a way for everyone to live well naturally: All of the good, none of the bad.
Pure Inventions uses only the purest ingredients. No caffeine, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or alcohol. NO CALORIES.
Adding Pure Inventions Antioxidant Extracts to water gives a healthful boost of benefits. Our delicious liquid antioxidant formulations are of the highest potency and are designed for optimal health and wellness.
Pure Inventions Antioxidant Extracts provide a fast, efficient absorption into the body because of their liquid form.
ALL PURE INVENTIONS PRODUCTS ARE:
- Manufactured at a GMP certified facility
- Easy to use: In an eco-friendly 60 serving bottle
Just add water and taste the Pure Inventions difference. An amazingly refreshing, great tasting, pure shot of antioxidants.
Prenatal massage is therapeutic bodywork that focuses on the special needs of the mother-to-be as her body goes through the dramatic changes of pregnancy. It enhances the function of muscles and joints, improves circulation and general body tone, and relieves mental and physical fatigue. The gentle, noninvasive approach of prenatal massage can ease discomfort associated with pregnancy, help the mother-to-be prepare for labor and give her nurturing emotional support.
Benefits for the body and mind
The benefits of prenatal massage include a wide range of physiological, emotional and psychological benefits.
- Alleviates stress on weight-bearing joints and musculo-fascial structures
- Assists in remedying many of the common discomforts experienced during pregnancy: muscular discomforts, lower-back pain, upper-back pain, headaches, leg cramps, sciatica, stiffness, tension and knots, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, heartburn and acid reflux, fatigue, varicose veins, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, edema of the lower extremities, neck pain, interscapular pain, sacroiliac and hip joint pain and constipation
- Increases blood circulation, which provides more oxygen and nutrients to both mother and fetus and stimulates the lymph system, thereby increasing immunity and removal of toxins
- Stabilizes hormonal levels and helps relieve depression or anxiety caused by hormonal changes
- Soothes and relaxes the nervous system by releasing endorphins into the mother’s body. As a result, the expectant mother feels more relaxed and at ease, and will also sleep more easily and more deeply
- Assists in maintaining good posture and adjusting to a changing alignment caused by the baby’s increasing weight. Massage increases muscle tone and flexibility, enhancing the ability to carry this extra weight while also relieving aches and pains, leg cramps and muscle spasms
- Eases the load on the heart and helps keep blood pressure in check
- Enhances the pliability of skin and underlying tissues
- Supports the return of blood to the heart and increases blood flow to the uterus and placenta. With the enormous demands placed on the circulatory system during pregnancy, blood volume may increase up to 60 percent compared to pre-pregnancy levels. As pregnancy progresses and the uterus enlarges and presses deep into the pelvic bowl, venous return to the heart is hampered
- Prepares the mother-to-be for an easier delivery with its sedating effect on the nervous system, promoting relaxation and stress relief
- Offers a natural, safe, drug-free alternative choice for pain relief, since taking medications are often limited during a pregnancy for the sake of the unborn child
- In addition to the physical benefits, prenatal massage provides expecting women with the emotional support and nurturing touch provided by nonsexual human touch and energy
Positioned for comfort
Prenatal massage can be performed by:
- having an expectant woman lie on her side, propped up with pillows;
- utilizing specially designed maternity cushioning systems, which allow the expectant mother to lie on her stomach, supported by the cushions; or
- positioning the mother-to-be in a semi-reclining position propped up by pillows.
At the conclusion of the session, it is suggested that the mother-to-be practice self-massage and stretching sequences in between regular prenatal appointments. It is encouraged to schedule prenatal appointments every two weeks until the third trimester, when weekly appointments are recommended.
Treatments created for the mom-to-be
The Spa of Essex understands the unique requirements of expectant moms when it comes to spa treatments. Therefore, we have customized the following treatments to meet your needs during pregnancy.
A full body massage that accommodates the health, circulation and well being of expectant mothers.
60 Minutes / $95 +, 70 Minutes / $105 +, 90 Minutes / $125 +
Please confer with your doctor prior to scheduling an appointment. Not recommended for women in their 1st trimester.
“The Benefits of Prenatal Massage” originally appeared on www.massagemag.com authored by Ariana Vincent. Ariana is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Instructor who offers a wide variety of NCBTMB-approved continuing education courses, including Prenatal Massage.
Admit it, you’ve stared in the mirror and tugged at your skin to imagine what you would look like with a face-lift, am I right? The ageless beauty of celebrities is constantly in our face. Every beauty magazine you are forced to flip through in the checkout line features flawless faces of the women we all wish we could look like.
The 40+ actresses, like Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry and Sofîa Vergara are looking younger than ever and we want to know their secret, it can’t just be good genes. Sure, the famous have access to skincare and makeup experts that we could only dream of having, and we can’t erase our flaws with Photoshop in real life, although that would be nice.
The aging process is inevitable, but there are ways to minimize the lines and look refreshed, youthful and silky-smooth. Really! Give your skincare regimen a face-lift with the NuFace Trinity Kit coupled with NuFace Smoother Powerhouse Peptide Serum.
NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device continues the tradition of bringing microcurrent technology into the palm of your hand. As the first and only hand-held microcurrent facial toning device FDA cleared for at-home facial stimulation, NuFace helps tone and contour the face while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Using the same technology widely used by aesthetic professionals, NuFace is designed to help you regain firmer muscles, tighter skin, lifted brow, contoured cheekbones and a more defined jaw line in as little as 5 minutes a day. NuFace Trinity is like Pilates for your face!
The powerful, concentrated peptide complex of the NuFace Smoother Powerhouse Peptide Serum coupled with the NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device supports natural microcirculation and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Hard to believe, right?
You will achieve noticeable and long-lasting results with this powerful anti-aging complex formula. In one easy step, smooth the look of existing fine lines and wrinkles, slow future aging, support natural collagen and hyaluronic acid production, and reduce dark circles and puffiness.
The Essex Signature Resurfacing Botanicals Facial plus microcurrent – a low level electrical current that re-energizes cells and tightens facial muscles by increasing muscle protein. It uses an alternating electrical current that works beneath the sensory nerves. Micro-Current tones, lifts, and re-educates the muscles instantly for a revitalized appearance. It has a cumulative effect when performed regularly — collagen and elastin production is increased by 57%!
60 Minutes / $160 ++
What is Myofascial Release:
Myofascial Release is not massage. Myofascial Release is used to equalize muscle tension throughout the body. Unequal muscle tension can compress nerves and muscles causing pain. Progress is measured by a decrease in the patient’s pain and by an improvement in overall posture.
Myofascial Release is a highly specialized stretching technique used by therapists to treat clients with a variety of soft tissue problems. Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. Soft tissue can become restricted due to disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow.
When muscle fibers are injured, the fibers and the fascia which surrounds it become short and tight. This uneven stress can be transmitted through the fascia to other parts of the body, causing pain and a variety of other symptoms in areas you often wouldn’t expect. Myofascial Release treats these symptoms by releasing the uneven tightness in injured fascia.
In other words, Myofascial Release is stretching of the fascia. The stretch is guided by feedback the therapist feels from the patient’s body. This feedback tells the therapist how much force to use, the direction of the stretch and how long to stretch. Small areas of muscle are stretched at a time. Sometimes the therapist uses only two fingers to stretch a small part of a muscle. The feedback the therapist feels determines which muscles are stretched and in what order.
Each Myofascial Release technique contains the same components. The physical therapist finds the area of tightness. A light stretch is applied to the tight area. The therapist waits for the tissue to relax and then increases the stretch. The process is repeated until the area is fully relaxed. Then, the next area is stretched.
The therapist will be able to find sore spots just by feel. Often, patients are unable to pinpoint some sore spots or have grown used to them until the physical therapist finds them. The size and sensitivity of these sore spots, called Myofascial Trigger Points, will decrease with treatment.
Most clients are surprised by how gentle Myofascial Release is. Some patients fall asleep during treatment. Others later go home and take a nap. Most clients find Myofascial Release to be a very relaxing form of treatment.
Types of Myofascial Release
Direct Myofascial Release:
The direct myofascial release (or deep tissue work) method engages the myofascial tissue “restrictive barrier” (tension). The tissue is loaded with a constant force until release occurs. Therapists will use knuckles, elbows, or other tools to slowly stretch the restricted fascia. Direct myofascial release is an attempt to bring about changes in the myofascial structures by stretching or elongation of fascia, or mobilizing adhesive tissues. The therapist moves slowly through the layers of the fascia until the deep tissues are reached.
Indirect Myofascial Release:
The indirect method involves a gentle stretch, which allows the fascia to ‘unwind’ itself.
Who can benefit from Myofascial Release?
Myofascial Release requires intense one-on-one treatment time. Myofascial Release is highly effective in treating the following diagnoses:
- Back strain, chronic back pain, low back pain, thoracic back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic cervical pain
- Complex pain complaints
- Dizziness, vertigo
- Myofascial pain dysfunction
- Plantar fasciitis
- Post-Polio symptoms
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- TMJ dysfunction
- Trigger points, tender points *
- Neck Pain
- Sports Injuries
- Disc Problems
- Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
- Neurological Dysfunction
- Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Myofascial Pain Syndrome
- Women-specific Health Issues like: Interstitial Cystitis, Mastectomy Pain, Menstrual Problems, Painful Intercourse, Urinary Frequency, Problematic Breast Implant/Reduction Scars, Endometriosis
* Trigger Points and tender points cause different types of pain. For example, a Trigger Point in the neck muscles can cause headaches, the sensation of your throat closing or eye pain. Pressure on a Trigger Point causes increased pain at the site and radiating pain in other apparently unrelated parts of the body. Pressure on a tender point causes increased pain only at the tender point itself.
What to expect after a Myofacial Release Session:
You must drink an additional gallon of fluid (water) above and beyond your normal intake both on the day of treatment and for one to two days afterwards to prevent excessive soreness. If you feel like you’re coming down with the flu or if you feel nauseated, you haven’t had enough to drink.
While you’re being treated with Myofascial Release, your improvement won’t progress in a straight line. Rather, your progress will zigzag; for some, it’s more like riding a roller coaster. Although you may feel like you’re taking two steps forward and one step back, you will be making progress.
Don’t get discouraged — you will improve! This zigzag progress happens because your brain takes time to accept changes in the posture and muscle tension that it recognizes as “normal” for you. As your muscle tension and posture are changed by treatment, your brain will gradually accept these changes as your “new normal.” It is very important to continue your custom treatment package for the best results.
This type of therapy treats the fascial system using gentle pressure application where fascial restrictions are found on the body. This therapy is used to treat trauma, restriction of motion or inflamed pressure that influence a fascial damaged area and produces pain and discomfort that might be found in back pain, fibromyalgia, TMJ, restricted motion, spasm and much more.
60 Minutes / $115 +, 70 Minute / $125 +, 90 Minute / $150 +
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, consumers spend billions of dollars each year on anti-aging skincare. Consumer demand for the latest in anti-aging expands beyond topical treatments to encompass any technology that will deliver permanent results without going under the knife. One of the best-known anti-aging treatments, red light therapy, is proven to increase collagen production, reduce wrinkles, improve skin texture, minimize pore size and achieve long-term radiant skin. This treatment can be found in dermatologist offices, at The Spa of Essex and devices for at-home use.
New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist, Judith Hellman, M.D., who specializes in dermatological surgery, laser surgery and anti-aging skin treatments, shares her insights into red light therapy, its uses and her experience with the technology and devices for at-home use.
How does red light therapy technology work?
Red light stimulates the proliferation of collagen producing cells (fibroblasts) in the skin and also increases the creation of collagen and elastic fibers, by penetrating up to one inch deep under the skin, without causing any thermal damage or downtime.
Why is it effective?
Red light essentially activates the body to make its own new, rejuvenated skin, without the need for aggressive intervention. The results include firmer, plumper skin, characteristic of what it would look like at a younger age.
Who should use red light therapy?
Red light is recommended for those who want to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and large pores and achieve smoother skin texture, while decreasing sagging skin that develops over time. It is a safe and painless treatment with no downtime. This treatment can be used by everyone with the small exception of patients who are light sensitive due to a medical condition like Lupus or because of medications they’re taking that can cause light sensitivity.
How do at-home devices differ from in-office treatments and how do patients benefit from each?
In-office technologies have been studied and used since the late 1980s. They cover large skin areas such as the chest or hands faster, due to their size. The excellent results observed over the years eventually led to the development of small size home devices, which put these treatments and their benefits at the reach of patients with ease. Home products are smaller, and take a bit longer to treat an area, but lead to similar results. The machines in the office are strictly light based, while at-home devices like the Silk’n FaceFX combine red light with deep heating for enhanced results. Patients can combine in-office treatments with the use of home devices to enhance the effects and maintain the improvements with the home tool over time. Needless to say, when used consistently, at-home treatments cost a fraction of the price of those performed in medical offices, making them more accessible to a larger group of people, and achieve a similar outcome.
What results have your patients experienced using red light therapy?
Patients have witnessed noticeable improvement in the areas around the eyes, the “smokers” lines around the lips and other fine lines. The lines get less deep, the skin gets smoother, the pores appear smaller and there is more elasticity, with less sagging. The overall effect is clearer, smoother and younger looking skin.
Facial of the Month
(A Corrective Facial Therapy)
The Red Light Facial combines a customized full facial treatment with the anti-aging Red light LED therapy. Red Light LED Therapy is one of the newest; most celebrated and documented treatments for aging and damaged skin. By stimulating the lower layers of the skin to promote collagen and elastin production, skin is visibly toned and tighter.
A few minutes will get you a Custom Skin Assessment from an Skincare Expert!
Source: “Red Light Stops Wrinkles” www.americanspa.com
Knowing how to relax is vital for ensuring your health and well-being, as well as restoring the passion and joy in your life. Allowing stress to affect you can lead to depression, illness, weight gain and a general sense of malcontent.
Recognize stress. Obviously, some stress is good for us — it adds interest, excitement and motivation to life, in the right balance. It is when the level of stress in your life causes you to put up with things that are harming or distressing you constantly that you risk sliding into being too stressed. You could be too stressed if:
- All you do and think about is work, non-stop. It might be your own business, a career, a salaried position, a stay-at-home mom or -dad position, or anything else that is soaking up your time and life one hundred percent, and this over-concentration is leaving you passionless, disappointed, unhappy, and unfulfilled.
- You experience constant body tension, including headaches, neck aches, back aches, and general soreness.
- You’re often irritable, short-tempered, and perhaps unable to focus on completing tasks. Trivial things set you off easily.
- You feel as if you have too much going on and that you can’t hop off the merry-go-round.
- Your sleep is a battlefield and you wake up feeling less rested rather than refreshed. Insomnia has become your norm rather than an unusual event.
- You’re eating too much or too little. Or, you are choosing unhealthy food options.
- You can’t remember the last time you had a good laugh and your sense of humor is sadly lacking.
Set aside time to relax. Once you have accepted that there are negative stressors impacting your life, it’s important to make room for relaxation amid all those busy things you’re doing. Ways to prepare for adding relaxation back into your routine include:
- Let go of guilt. Many religious and cultural beliefs instill the value of hard work very deeply. Over time, and increasingly so with the advent of smart technology that keeps us hyper-wired 24/7, many of us have come to believe that being “on-the-go” constantly is the only way to prove our value. Having an unrealistic interpretation of “hard work” will end up wearing you down. Hard work is giving your tasks the attention they deserve at the time they deserve, not letting it bleed into all hours of your day!
- Accept that sleep is a very important part of life. During sleep, your mind continues learning in ways that are not possible during waking hours. Sleep restores and refreshes your body in myriad ways that cannot happen when you’re awake. Do not be tempted to devalue the worth of sleep. Moreover, the alleged ability of some people to thrive on four hours sleep per night is the exception, not the rule — most of us need the six to eight hour sleep cycle for full restoration. Dreaming is an essential part of sleep; you can explore your inner fantasy and have many experiences that you never encounter in the waking world.
- Block out times in your day to relax. Think of it as an appointment with your most important client — you — that you absolutely cannot skip or break.
- If you’re at home, mark time for relaxing in black ink on a calendar for everyone to see. That way, the whole family will appreciate the importance of making time to relax.
- Recognize that finding your own optimal ways to relax may take time, as well as some trial and error. Don’t give up — keep searching until you find the right combination of activities that relax you and rejuvenate your enthusiasm for living fully.
Relaxing Your Body
Practice breathing techniques. Slow down your breathing and actively concentrate on it. This is always the easiest way to self-calm, provided you remember to resort to it.
- Do belly breathing: where you put your hands on you stomach and when you breath in: you try to push away your hands, and when you breath out you make your hands go towards you
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Inhale deeply as you count to five, hold your breath for five seconds, then exhale slowly, counting to five. Do this ten times to relax your muscles and nerves. As you breathe out, visualize the stress and tension leaving your body through your breath.
Make healthy dietary choices. Eating well can help your body feel balanced and healthy, making you less susceptible to spikes in blood sugar and feelings of anxiety. Try to practice moderation in these areas:
- Avoid the excessive refined sugar found in granola bars, pastries or sodas. Carbohydrates, such as pasta, convert easily to sugar. These can cause severe ups and downs in your blood sugar and lead to agitation, upsetting your body’s ability to efficiently utilize energy.
- Avoid excessive caffeine. Too much caffeine can make you jumpy and irritable. Try not to drink caffeine after 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and keep your morning intake moderate and steady across every day. If you must have more coffee than you should, switch to decaf or an herbal tea with little or no caffeine.
- Eat fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains that are free of refined sugar, such as apples, grapes, carrots, broccoli, brown rice or whole grain breads.
- Eat plenty of low-calorie protein, such as chicken, fish, whole grains, legumes, dark leafy vegetables or low-fat dairy. These proteins are a better source of energy.
Take a multivitamin. Some vitamins relieve stress. Vitamin B and Vitamin D are especially good for relaxation.
Exercise every day. This is the best-known, scientifically-proven way to significantly reduce stress. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to overcome stress if you exercise regularly. Here are some ideas to try:
- Aim for at least thirty minutes per day of moderate activity.
- Walk in the park, in the woods, or on a treadmill.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park a little further away from the entrance of a store.
- Ride a bike.
- Go swimming. Try your local pool, a nearby lake or a friend or relative’s home. You do not have to be an excellent swimmer; just the idea of being in water could be relaxing enough.
- Stretch. Lower your shoulders to help relax. Be more consciously aware of the tension that is quick to accumulate in your shoulders and neck region.
Try a massage. Undoing the body knots is a good pathway to undoing the mind knots.
Relaxing Your Mind
Practice positive thinking. Positive thinking isn’t about wishful or dreamer thinking; it’s about making the most of the situations that you find yourself in and avoiding any tendency to add negative overlays.
- Use visualization techniques. While you might not feel calm and relaxed, imagining a calm and relaxed scene in your mind can do wonders to improve your outlook. Picture beaches, lying down resting, going for a hike, etc., to help you stay relaxed.
- Use affirmations to change your outlook on life and stop yourself from always jumping to negative conclusions. Affirmations are short, powerful statements that build you up and increase your confidence, helping you to expect positive outcomes. Be careful about the words you choose – the things you say about yourself over and over again will ensure that you believe your own rhetoric. Use positive, believable, and caring words about yourself.
- Teach yourself to step back and see the “big picture” when you’re in the thick of things that don’t seem to be going well. Recognize that most problems are temporary, and minor setbacks on the path to achieving larger goals.
Think logically, and restrain your emotions. If you learn to think more sequentially and logically when you’re stressed, you might find that solutions become more apparent.
- Turn an objective eye on your stressors. Take a realistic look at what’s freaking you out, and consider how you’d advise a friend in a similar position. Then, follow your own advice.
- Change your ways. If the problem is something you’re doing, then change the way you act or react. Stop and listen to those around you to figure out and correct what it is you might be misunderstanding or doing wrong.
Find a quiet place when you are feeling overwhelmed and pamper yourself.
- Draw a warm bath. Light candles around the tub, dim the lights, add bubbles or lavender, if desired.
- Lie on your bed or sofa. Play some soft music or nature CDs. Relax listening to ocean waves, waterfalls or birds.
- Read a good book. Curl up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of chamomile tea.
- Imagine a personal paradise. Close your eyes and envision a different setting. What do you see around you? Is there a breeze? What do you hear – birds or water? Imagine the calming sound of ocean waves reaching the shore. Enjoy a moment in your special place.
- Even the stall of a bathroom at work is an ideal “quiet spot” for a breather if you have no other place to go.
Stop feeling guilty. Guilt is a potent source of stress. Get rid of the source of guilt by behaving yourself; stop engaging in behaviors that make you feel guilty. Seek professional help, if necessary, but don’t allow destructive behavior to escalate and sabotage your life and health.
Learn to prioritize. Make a list of tasks for the day. Organize the list by importance, and be proactive and take care of things before they become a big problem. Time spent more productively means more free time to relax.
- Work! Although this may sound counteractive to your goal of relaxing, procrastination never feels as good as having nothing to do. Get your tasks done now, and then you can truly relax.
Practice meditation. Remove all thoughts and emotions from your mind by concentrating on your breathing. Meditation takes you into focusing on your whole being as a form of relaxation, rather than just focusing on one area of your body as any other relaxation technique tends to do. It can take a while to master, but it is well worth the effort.
- Begin with a sitting posture for a minimum of 15 minutes per session, and build up to 45–60 minutes per session.
- Try to meditate regularly.
- Find a respected mentor if you are having difficulty learning meditation by yourself.
- Avoid being intense, competitive, or frustrated about meditating – all of these emotions defeat its purpose!
Consider self-hypnosis. Focus on something, take a few deep breaths and let yourself become hypnotized. If you have trouble with self-hypnosis, go to a licensed hypnotherapist. Do not allow an amateur to try to hypnotize you, and beware of subliminal messages.
Do activities or hobbies that relax you. Get your mind off the things that normally stress you out. You may just need a break every now and then.
- Go fishing, sew, sing, paint or take photographs.
- Try singing a song using numbers instead of words. Singing can help to distract you from stress to suddenly relax.
- Use music as relaxation therapy. Play it as loudly or as softly as you like, whichever calms you the most.
Spend time with your pet. Cuddle or play with your pets. They’ll love it and so will you. Talk to your pet about all the stress and anxiety you’ve been going through and you’ll feel a lot better. Pet therapy is a genuine means for relaxing; you can also learn a lot from watching how your pet relaxes (note, animals don’t carry guilt around!).
Smile and laugh. Laughter is the best medicine. Rent, buy or see a hilarious movie. This is guaranteed to help. Smiling and laughing releases endorphins, which fights stress, helps to relax and reminds you that life is more than just work. Even if it feels strange at first, make it a point to smile more often.
Staying Relaxed Around Stressful People
Sometimes the negativity and unrealistic expectations of other people can derail your determination to include relaxation as a valuable part of your life. Don’t let that happen. Instead, consider the following suggestions to help you to remain relaxed around non-relaxed people.
Develop an invisible shield between yourself and stressed folk. This is really a visualization technique, in which you imagine that you are cocooned against the negative vibes of overly stressed people around you. See their behavior and attitudes for what they are, recognize what their stress is doing to them but refuse to let this penetrate your shield.
- Don’t carry the world’s weight on your shoulders – these people are making a choice to behave in this way, and you don’t have to come along for the ride.
- De-linking yourself from others stress can be hard at first, especially if you are empathic by nature, but keep practicing until not giving in to their negativity becomes second nature.
Disconnect. Put the phone back down, shut the email folder, walk away. Whenever you feel like making an instantaneous reply in anger to someone who has raised your ire, don’t act on it. When we feel angry and stressed, we are more likely to read sinister interpretations into our interactions and if we act on them, our self-righteous anger can be self-fulfilling when the person responds negatively. Sleep on your angry missive and practice the relaxation techniques outlined here.
- Write a draft of your response, and let it sit for a day. If everything in it is just as true and valid to you 24 hours later, consider sending it. If not, you’ll be grateful you held off.
- Walk away and decompress. Instead of acting in anger, remove yourself from the situation until your calm has returned.
Avoid toxic personalities. Spend less time with people who try to guilt you into doing things or tell you that you’re not good enough. Yes, even if they’re family.
- Steer clear of people who are constantly complaining or miserable, aka “negaholics”. Stress can be contagious, so avoid transmitters. Understand that there is always a solution to a problem, even if they don’t, or won’t, see that.
- Avoid people who practice the art of woundology (and avoid practicing it yourself!). Wallowing in misery is an artform for some people. You don’t need their negativity, nor their rapacious need for making the worst of every situation.
Give hugs. Go on the positive offensive and reach through to people who seem down and negative. Caring touch reduces stress and promotes relaxation. Say hello and goodbye to your friends and family members with a hug, and don’t be afraid to comfort someone with a hug, or ask for a hug when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Know when to cut ties. If you value your relationships, as do most people, it can be challenging to realize that there are people who are just too toxic or too needy to keep in your inner circle because they sap your energy and stress you constantly. Sometimes it’s best to let go, provided you do so after thinking it through carefully. Avoid being judgmental, hurtful, or blunt; just move on as you need to. The following articles might help you work out what could be wrong with a relationship that’s getting you down, and what to do about it:
- Deal With Impossible People
- Recognize a Manipulative or Controlling Relationship
- Recognize a Toxic Friend
- Recognize a Toxic Relationship.
Spend time with people who radiate warmth and with whom you can truly connect. Contact with positive-thinking and joyous people broadens your capacities enormously and helps you to feel more relaxed and happy.
Developed more than 2,000 years ago in Thailand, Thai massage remains a popular technique that incorporates aspects of yoga, acupressure, energy balancing, and massage. Considered one of the ancient healing arts of traditional Thai medicine, Thai massage was originally passed from teacher to teacher within the Buddhist temples, while Thai families used it as a healing folk art. Today, Thai massage continues to be a mainstay in Thai medicine, while quickly gaining a new audience in the Western world.
What is Thai Massage?
Also known as yoga massage, assisted yoga, or ancient massage, Thai massage respects the body’s limits, while encouraging clients to reach their edge of flexibility—but never beyond. Some people say Thai massage is a little like doing yoga without any effort, because the therapist will push your body into various positions without any work on your part.
What should I expect during a Thai Massage Treatment?
Thai massage is performed on a soft floor mat, with clients fully clothed in loose, comfortable attire suitable for the deep stretching that will be part of the session. Pillows and bolsters may be used for better client support. This interactive form of bodywork can utilize tai chi, rocking and rhythmic motion, massage, and assisted stretching. Thai massage is done with all your clothes on, so some people recommend it if you feel uncomfortable with nudity during a Swedish Massage.
What are the benefits of Thai Massage?
Experts say there is an interesting dichotomy with Thai massage, as it both relaxes and rejuvenates. After the session, some clients report feeling awakened and energized, while also feeling deeply grounded and at peace.
The benefits of Thai massage largely mimic those of traditional massage:
- Deep relaxation and quieting of the mind.
- Heightened energy levels.
- Improved body-mind connection.
- Improved circulation and lymphatic flow.
- Improved range of motion.
- Increased flexibility.
- Rejuvenated body and mind.
- Relief for pain and muscle tension.
As with any form of massage or bodywork, it’s paramount that Thai massage clients communicate with their therapists throughout the session. Is the massage pressure too deep? Does the stretch no longer feel good? Is the room too hot? Be sure to let the therapist know if something is not quite right so he or she can deliver the best, most therapeutic work possible and you can experience the full benefits of your Thai massage session.
Kerrie March is an experienced licensed massage therapist and master of Reiki here at The Spa of Essex. She is certified from the CT Center of Massage Therapy in Newington, CT. Her passion to help a client’s body, mind and spirit led her to expand her expertise with a variety of modalities, including Thai Massage, Cherokee Body Work, Integrated Energy Therapy, Medical Massage and the traditional Swedish and Deep Tissue Massage. A firm believer in the inseparable connection between body/mind and a caring intuitive touch, Kerrie is an advocate of massage for relieving physical as well as emotional stress, and believes in massage as a viable modality for enhancing overall health and well-being.
Call or Click to Reserve Your Thai Massage Experience with Kerrie Today!