Thursday, August 6, 2020

Bodywork, Coronavirus, and Health

Therapeutic Bodywork, be it deep massage, shiatsu, reiki, or others, is all part of a system that sees health as a product of balance, taking care of yourself, listening to your body, and building your immune system. A natural or integrative approach to health which more readily embraces bodywork is based on supplying the body with what it needs to stay healthy, to ward off disease, and to be strong in the face of environmental assaults like viruses and toxins. The body, even if it does get sick, even with maladies as serious as cancer, has the ability to fight off disease if it has what it needs.

Right now, we are culturally immersed in questions about viruses and the coronavirus in particular. We are no longer daily hearing about how to avoid getting cancer, heart disease, or overcoming obesity, even though these, and other diseases like lung disease, Alzheimer’s, pneumonia, and suicide are each causing far more deaths than the coronavirus. It appears that coronavirus is the new, and shiny disease de jour.

So, let’s look at the coronavirus through the lens of both traditional medicine and integrative medicine. To start, both schools of thought generally agree that a virus is a microscopic organism that can infect a host and cause unpleasant symptoms and even death. Where these two schools of thought diverge is in their approach to dealing with it. Neither is right or wrong and both have efficacy. Here is how they stack up.

Traditional or Allopathic medicine thinks like this: We are waging a war against a foreign enemy. We must not let it invade our bodies. We must stay inside and keep away from it, kill it on every surface, and filter our breathing through a mask. We need to keep at a distance from other people in case they are carriers and get vaccinated to lower our chances of it being deadly. Here, we only get bodywork when we are in pain as a stop-gap measure to "getting back to work."

Alternative, Integrative, or Natural Medicine thinks like this: Viruses are naturally occurring in the environment. People get them, people get over them, and we will constantly be exposed to them throughout our lives. We need to build strong immune systems to guard against sickness. We need good food, clean water, exercise, social contact, low amounts of toxins, sunlight, and fresh air. Take vitamin C and get in the sun. De-stress, get bodywork, spend time in nature and your body will naturally reject the virus if exposed. Here, we get regular bodywork as a "preventive" measure to boost our immune systems along with our other health-promoting good habits.

The reason that these two systems are so at odds is because one is based on improving the immune system and the other on fighting it by unnatural and artificial means that in essence reduce the effectiveness of the immune system.

Allopathic Approach: We stay inside where the air quality is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside which lowers our immune system. We sanitize every surface with harsh chemicals that also lower our immune systems. We breathe through a mask and re-breathe our own CO2 which lowers our immune system. We keep at a distance from other people, creating a lack of social and physical contact that further lowers our immune system. We get vaccinated to lower our chances of dying from a virus, but of course the chemicals in the vaccine can injure or kill us first.

Integrative Approach - Time spent in the pleasurable pursuit of good health:  The "terrain" approach promoted by integrative, natural and functional medical professionals promotes the idea that the body as a healthy organism can defend itself, heal itself and recover fully from any hostile attack. The reason people choose an integrative approach is because they do not want to spend their life being afraid and fighting for their health. They want to spend their time in pleasurable pursuit of good health. Many find fighting to avoid a virus stressful and stress further lowers the immune system.  

Whatever system fits best for you, getting bodywork can be a great support for stress reduction and better health.  Both allopathic and natural medicine approaches can support improving your immune system if you are healthy... and bodywork is exactly the partner you are looking for to keep you on track!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Frozen Shoulder

As we've been looking at how the Backrub can help in the bodies natural healing process, today's post will concentrate on Adhesive Capsulitis or, more commonly known as, Frozen Shoulder. 

There are a few factors that may contribute to Frozen shoulder, including surgery, diabetes, cervical disk disease or a shoulder injury. It happens when the ligaments surrounding your shoulder joint become inflamed and stiffen. It causes pain and stiffness and a difficulty to rotate your shoulder. 

After getting advice from your doctor, if you are looking for natural ways to ease the strain in your shoulder, the tips below may lead you in the right direction.

Stretching -  Try watching this video for a guide on quick stretches you can try daily and learning your own limitations if you have frozen shoulder. There are also periodic classes at The Backrub on AIS (Active Isolated Stretching) for a more one-on-one experience. Have a look at our  blog post from a few months back for more information.

Essential Oils - we've talked a lot about the power of essential oils and Frozen Shoulder is not exempt. Have a look at this recipe from Natural Mom's Blog for a recipe for Frozen Shoulder. If you'd like a more personal recipe, try contacting our resident EO expert, Nikki Wells, here at the Backrub.

Applying Heat - many people swear by a heat pack as an effective quick relief. Try to take a hot bath; applying heat and then a cold pack also may work. The key is listening to what your body needs.

Massage - not only will a visit to The Backrub give prompt alleviation, it will promote oxygen flow in the blood and relax the muscles. Both shiatsu and massage therapy are offered here at The Backrub and both have benefits toward thawing frozen shoulder. Give us a call at 651-698-3338 to talk to a practitioner to find what would be right for you.

Diet - last but not least, checking your diet will have numerous perks to your whole body. While there is no dietary plan for frozen shoulder, you should be concentrating on anti-inflammatory foods (fruits, vegetables and nuts) and avoiding trans and saturated fats. 

The thing to stress most about Frozen Shoulder is that it will not be healed naturally in a day, or even a week. Frozen Shoulder takes time and dedication to healing, through stretches, body work and other remedies to discuss with your practitioner. We're here to help ease that process and by following a these few helpful tips, you could be on the way to a natural thaw.

Have questions or comments? Follow this link to contact us!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sciatica : What You Should Know

Ever get a sharp pain in the back of the leg? A leg cramp that won't go away? You might have sciatica. 
There a lot of issues people come in to the Backrub to remedy. One of these such issues is sciatica- an ailment some people do not even realize that they have. So, what is it and how can you get rid of it?

Sciatica generally comes from pressure on the discs that cushion the bone- a "pinched nerve".  The nerve might be pinched inside or outside of the spinal canal as it passes into the leg. 
Aging wear and tear also can contribute, with sciatica effecting people aged 30 - 50.

Common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot- A constant pain on one side of the rear
- A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
- Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
- Burning or tingling down the leg

The main goals you want to reach when you're looking to treat sciatica is to reduce the inflammation and muscle spasms. Luckily there are ways you can do this without heading to the doctor:

Icing and Heat: Ice your lower spine area and around your hips for about twenty minutes - this will lessen the inflammation. Follow by applying heat, either through a hot bath or heating pads - which will increase your circulation and quicken the healing process.  

Stretching and Core Muscle Strength: Although you may not want to, a few stretching moves will help release muscle spasms and help prevent sciatica pain in future. Try this short helpful video for a stretching guide.

Massage Therapy: If stretching is out of the question, a massage can get you immediate relief. The Backrub practitioners offer deep tissue massage - for sciatica that means calming the muscle spasms and restoring the "numb" feeling you may have in your legs and feet. Regular visits also contribute to restoring your balance and body structure, an important component to healing many body ailments including sciatica. 

Come into The Backrub today for a session to help restore you body's natural balance - we're open 7 days a week! Walk-ins or booking available - 651-698-4567

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Winter Hibernation: What to Eat

The holidays are over for the most part and we've had some time to sit back. This is also the time of year when we feel the winter slump. We can't sleep well, yet the gloomy cold just makes us want to wrap up in our duvets and stay in bed all day. Our diets, which is one thing that we start focusing on after the holidays, can help us gain some energy as well as help us fall asleep faster. We've compiled a list of what to munch on during the day for a more restful sleep.

Nuts: Grab a handful of nuts during the day and not only will it give you a healthy boost of energy, some of them can also help aid sleep. Walnuts contain their own amount of melatonin, an important hormone that helps regulate sleep. Almonds help muscle relaxation through their source of magnesium, also present in Brazil nuts and sesame seeds.

Fruit: There are certain fruits with components that promote a healthier sleep- Bananas are packed with melatonin and potassium- a nutrient that is another natural muscle relaxer. A handful of dates are high in carbs and L-tryptophan- the amino acid that helps you crash after a big meal. Cherries also naturally boosts levels of melatonin in our bodies. 

Fish: Vitamin D is important to achieve optimum perkiness during the day. Salmontrout, anchovies and tuna are an excellent way to ward off daytime sleepiness and welcoming a better sleep come bedtime. Check out this link from Fitness Magazine for 34 delicious healthy and quick fish recipes. Avoid protein-rich foods too close to bedtime though - try having your last big meal 3 hours before you sleep.

Tea: Head to the grocery store and you'll find a few brands of tea that promote sleep. If you've tried and tested these and are looking for something a bit different, a few other types of teas can do the same job: Steep some Passionfruit tea for a more sound sleep, or Magnolia Bark tea to calm nerves and anxiety. Even the ritual of sipping some tea before bedtime can aid the relaxation process. 

Food is also known to effect our moods. While some foods, like the ones above, can promote relaxation and less anxiety, others can have the opposite effect.
 Have a look at this article for how some foods can make us touchy and even angry:
Food Swings- Can Food Make You Angry?

What rituals and snacks do you try before bedtime? Let us know in the comments below! Want to keep in touch? Like us on Facebook or pop into The Backrub - we're open 7 days a week! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

AIS At The Backrub

Have you made it to an AIS class at the Backrub lately? You may know instructor Nikki Wells through her monthly Essential Oils classes at the Backrub - she is also instructing classes on AIS (Active Isolated Stretching). These classes and semi-private classes are helping to improve the bodies of many people over the winter months as our muscles turn tight from cold winter days. 

If you are unsure what AIS is and what the benefits are, read on! 

 What AIS is:
Uses full range of motion movements to contract and strengthen targeted muscles while at the same time stretch the opposing muscles.  
This simultaneous strength and flexibility training makes it functional and safe.  
Stretches hold for no more than a few seconds.
Concentrating on breathing - exhale on stretch, inhale on release.

What AIS benefits:
 Techniques benefit muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and bones.  
They also develop brain-muscle connectivity.  
Treats a range of musculoskeletal conditions to relieve pain and facilitate the healing process.  
Can relieve muscle tension, alleviate fatigue, improve flexibility and efficiency of movement, increase strength, and achieve a balanced alignment.  
Weakness, excess muscle tension and lack of flexibility of the neck, shoulders and back--which leaves you more vulnerable to injury--can be changed through training with AIS.

During a class, Nikki will teach and assist you in stretches that can benefit your problem areas- from neck and shoulder tension to abdominal and back pain. 
Taking home what you learn from one of these classes could be the progressional kick to feeling better in the long run - these are stretches you can do every day!

There are so many benefits to AIS that Nikki would love to talk to you about- drop us a line or an email anytime for more info and remember to check back here for more health and well-being tips!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winter Hibernation: Intro

During this time of year a lot of us get into a rut- our bodies are missing the warmth of the sun, our hard-earned cash is stretching thin and our diets have fallen short due to approaching holidays. It's hard to know how to stop the circle of stress and frustration!

Here at the Backrub we believe relaxation is one way to less stress and a better well-being. So what is the key to ultimate relaxation? A good old-fashioned sleep.

Sleep deprivation is the cause of many physical and mental declines, from basic break down of immunity to effecting our moods. It can lead to a poorer diet, more sick days from work and decreasing mental alertness.

Don't stress! The winter time is a perfect time to catch up on sleep - the nights are longer giving us a better excuse to go to bed earlier and the cold outside won't keep us far from our warm homes. Over winter we'll be getting deep into the science of sleep and sharing tips and tricks for a natural night of slumber. We've all heard the advice of turning off your tv, putting down the phone, getting off the computer before bed but we want to go deeper than that. 
What food helps to a better snooze? What stretches can we do to ward off insomnia? How do we let our minds "let go" before hitting the sack? We'll explore these and more, ensuring a winter hibernation fit for a bear.

Had a bad sleep last night? Here are a few simple but effective points on getting through the day:

Caffeine: taken in moderation, it has been proven to help the brain get a kickstart after a bad night. Listen to your body and try to watch when the caffeine starts kicking in - that's when you can slow down the intake.

Keep Hydrated: You are naturally balancing your body's vitamins, nutrients and minerals when you drink water, keeping you functioning and replenishing what you've used up. By drinking water through the day and especially before bed, your hormones, energy levels and muscles and joints become balanced. 

Keep Moving! You'll probably want to lay your head on the desk and take a snooze but getting up and moving around at regular intervals will help you pick up a little more energy.

Grab Some Sun: Making sure you get some sunlight will set your body clock back to where it should be and curb afternoon drowsiness. Bonus - the fresh air will give you a boost to get through the day.

How do you relax before bedtime? Let us know! Comment below or follow us on Facebook for more tips and tricks on relaxing. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Essential Oils for Emotional Healing

If you haven't already attended The Backrub's class on essential oils, get your seat quick! This is fast becoming a popular session, dealing with the strength in essential oil's natural emotional healing. Unsure about what it's all about? Read on for a few facts:

The power of essential oils can be subtle and profound. From anxiety and stress to distractions, our bodies and minds benefit from their therapeutic value.

Essential oils are a natural route to better well-being and can be an alternative to finding relief from pharmaceuticals.

The Backrub carries products by doTerra - one of the best manufacturers of certified high-quality essential oils.

During a class at The Backrub, Instructor Nikki Wells will talk about doTerra oils we can use to help transition from a stressful day at work to a relaxing evening at home.

These are essential oils that are very easy to use within the home - in cleaners, applying topically to yourself or family, diffuser and even in your dryer.

Sign up for the next class and find out how a few drops can envelope your home into a peaceful and happy place.

Need more info? Email
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