3 ways teens can benefit from massage

Adolescence is a unique stage of life. In between childhood and adulthood, teens go through massive changes on both a physiological and a psychological level. Naturally, this means that teens also have unique health and wellness issues. While nothing replaces regular physical exams with a physician and an active lifestyle, massage therapy can be a valuable component of a teen’s health and wellness. Here are three different issues often occurring during adolescence that massage has been shown to help:

1. Poor body image and eating disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3% of American teens suffer from an eating disorder, and the majority of them go untreated. Depression, social pressures regarding appearance, and participation in sports where leanness is valued (such as gymnastics, wrestling, and diving), are all associated with the development of eating disorders. Needless to say, high school provides ample opportunity for all of these.

Studies done at the Touch Research Institute with women who struggle with either anorexia nervosa or bulimia showed that regular massage decreased anxiety levels, increased levels of the feel-good hormone dopamine, and reduced depression scores. Participants in the study also showed better scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory, indicating better body awareness. While counseling is obviously of paramount importance, massage therapy can be a powerful adjunct to other forms of treatment for eating disorders.

2. PMS and menstrual pain.

What’s worse than menstrual problems? Menstrual problems when you’re a teenager. Between the irregular cycles, the inexperience with managing symptoms, and the embarrassment about getting help, adolescence can be a rough time to have a uterus. Effective treatments like hormonal birth control can have negative social connotations, and require a pelvic exam to obtain, a procedure that most teen girls have yet to experience and may wish to avoid.

Massage therapy has been shown to help with pain, anxiety, and feelings of depression related to PMS, as well as other symptoms like water retention. Girls can also benefit from learning self-massage techniques to use when experiencing menstrual cramps on a day-to-day basis.

3. Athletic injuries.

While high school athletes are injured at around the same rate as professional athletes, their growing bodies mean that they’re often injured in different ways. Since bones grow before muscles and tendons do, youth are more susceptible to muscle, tendon, and growth plate injuries. Sprains, strains, growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illness are among the most common injuries among young athletes. Boys are most likely to experience athletic injuries while playing ice hockey, rugby and soccer, while soccer, basketball and gymnastics lead to the most injuries in girls.

Sports massage has a long history, and can be especially effective when dealing with repetitive motion injuries like tennis elbow and runner’s knee. Massage therapists are now found at every kind of sporting event, from the Olympics all the way down to your local 10K. Given that teen athletes can be more vulnerable to injury and overuse than their adult counterparts, it makes sense to offer them the same opportunities for healing and pain relief.

Do you know a teen who could use a massage?

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Juvenile Arthritis

Arthritis isn’t just one disorder. It’s a complicated set of musculoskeletal disorders made up from over 100 different diseases or conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues. The symptoms cause pain, limit movement, and can halt an otherwise active person’s life.

In the US, almost 300,000 of those affected by arthritis are kids. Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a broad way to describe a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. We don’t know yet why it strikes, and it can appear in many different ways.

July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month, and I’m taking this opportunity to learn more and share more about JA. Here are five things I didn’t know, and I bet you don’t know them either.

Children Can Be Diagnosed With Arthritis
When we hear the word arthritis we often think of adults with stiff joints, not children and teenagers. Stiff joints, pain, and swelling for more than 6 weeks are associated with arthritis. Eyes, skin, and the gastrointestinal tract can also be affected in children. It is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the body is attacking itself instead of a foreign body such as a virus. If your child or teen seems to always have a tummy ache and complains of joint pain it could be a good idea to visit your doctor for a chat.

There is No Known Cause
Parents of children with a JA diagnosis will ask the question, “What caused this?” Unfortunately the answer is usually, “We don’t know for sure.” Researchers are looking at genetic and environmental factors which may contribute to the development of JA, but they have found no specific cause. There isn’t one single blood test to diagnose. Studies are trying to determine if siblings of children with JA will also develop symptoms.

Common Signs of Juvenile Arthritis
Complaints of painful knees, hands, feet, neck, or jaw common symptoms. This pain is common first thing in the morning or upon waking from naps. Arthritis pain tends to appear slowly, not suddenly like an injury.

Stiffness in the joints is another sign of arthritis. Usually the stiffness will be worse in the morning but improve with movement throughout the day. Some children may stop doing certain things. Has your toddler stopped using utensils to eat when he has been wielding a fork for months? See if you can determine if he’s in pain or just exploring with his fingers.

Swelling of a joint or joints is a strong sign a child might need an evaluation. The joint may be hot to the touch, as well. Often a child with JA will develop fevers with fatigue but no other symptoms of illness.

Treatments for Juvenile Arthritis
Even though there is no cure for JA, doctors will have a treatment plan for each patient. Treatments may include medication, physical therapy, nutrition, and eye care. One patient may respond well with medication while others may do better with movement or physical therapy. The whole family will work together in an effort to maintain normalcy for the patient. Adjustments to schedules may happen, but there’s no need to quit living life altogether.

Massage as a Treatment
We all know massage feels great on sore muscles, but can it help with the stiffness of arthritis? Maybe! We know massage can have a positive effect on blood pressure and anxiety. A study at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey looked at people with osteoarthritis of the knee. The people who received a Swedish (or relaxation) massage twice a week for 8 weeks reported improvement in pain levels and function.

Massage for children and teens can be beneficial in many ways. Regular massage helps manage painful symptoms and can help improve self-awareness, self-image, and self-confidence. Parents can even work with a massage therapist to learn soothing techniques to apply at home. Massage for arthritis is usually gentle and soothing with a warm touch, perfect for use by any parent trying to help his or her child. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a massage for your child (or yourself!) you can always contact me at http://www.feizhealth.com. With this list of signs you may learn how to spot the signs of something more serious than a case of the childhood “I don’t want-tos.” Chronic pain is no fun, but it can be harder to deal with if no one knows it’s happening. Juvenile arthritis is a real issue with real symptoms. If spotted and treated early, it doesn’t have to mean an end to the active life your child deserves.

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Some applause for great dads

Gone are the days of dad working all day to come home to a pipe, slippers, and the evening paper while the kids sit waiting for dinner. This generation of fathers and step fathers are “all in” when it comes to child-raising. There’s more to a dad these days than little league coach. Men who play an active role in their children’s lives deserve a little recognition.

Whether they are baby-wearing or carpooling, more dads are helping care for families “in the home,” some even full time. According to the US Census Bureau there were 93,000 stay-at-home-dads in the United States in 2000. Fast forward to 2012 and they reported 189,000 stay-at-home dads and it’s not only moms at “Mommy and Me” anymore!

Dads who work in the home chase kids, hold babies, sing lullabies, clean messes, play taxi driver, and juggle after school schedules. They get stressed out, touched out, and overwhelmed. These guys need “me time,” too. What does he do for down time? Video games, hunting, fishing, workout, massage?

Stay-at-home-dads aren’t the only awesome ones, though. Many working fathers don’t take a break when they arrive home but dive right in to home life. Cooking, cleaning, and playing with the kids is more than “pitching in,” it’s a part of life with a family. More and more dads share in the sometimes exciting, sometimes mundane activities called life.

Weekend dads are important, too. Sometimes circumstances arise in which a family lives apart. Trying to pack a week’s worth of time into a weekend can’t be easy. Going from a full house to an empty nest every other week can have an emotional effect, especially if they live miles away.

What can you do for the special man in your life who shares your home, your children, and your life? You could find tickets to his favorite team’s game! Maybe there is a concert coming up he’d like to go to. Send him on a fishing/boating/hunting trip. Slip a massage gift certificate into the stack of homemade cards from the kids. http://www.feizhealth.com, make him a card yourself! Cutting and painting construction paper sounds fun and he’ll know your “thank you” is coming from the heart!

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Four ways to keep stress at bay!

As much as we enjoy the emerging flowers and warmer weather of April, there can be a bit of a dark cloud hanging in the spring sky. Often the first few weeks of the month are a rush of receipts and 1040’s as the April 15 Tax deadline looms, and a rush of new schedules as the kids’ sports seasons fire up. Maybe that’s why April is Stress Awareness Month; to remind us to take care of ourselves, and not let stress go unchecked.

Meditation
Meditation does not have to be about pretzeled legs, chanting, and reaching enlightenment. It can simply be about creating a moment of stillness in your mind as a way to become more relaxed. Just one minute, 60 seconds of meditation, can dramatically improve your mood, your productivity and the quality of your day.

Exercise
It can be tough to make time for exercise when the schedule gets tight and tensions get high. But that’s when it becomes even more important. Exercise can relieve the physical symptoms of stress like fatigue, pain, and moodiness. If you can’t make time for daily workout, try to fit a 5-10 minute walk outside into some part of your day. A little goes a long way when you need it.

Giggle and hum
Both laughter and music can lower the blood pressure. In fact, this study in 2011 showed that 3 months of laughter or music therapy resulted in the same drop in blood pressure that could be achieved with a low-salt diet, losing 10 pounds, or taking a blood-pressure-lowering medication.
So cue up the “Who’s on first?” or dance around with your kids while making dinner and work some giggling and humming into your day.

Massage
Regular body work and corrective exercise can improve sleep, relieve headaches, reduce muscle pain, and improve moods. When you feel good, you play more, work more efficiently, and take better care of the people you love. Schedule a session now to prepare for a busy (and fun) spring!

Commit to taking care of yourself this spring! You may be surprised with the results.

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Foam Roller Lateral Line Stretch

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4 ways to Improve Your Sleep

March is fun for a few reasons. Exciting basketball, green beer, and a confused body clock. Wait, that’s not fun. March is when we attempt to shake off the winter doldrums and see the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of daffodils and light sweater-weather. Daylight Savings Time robs us of a precious hour of rest we won’t see it again ‘til fall, and our sleep  cycles get all out-of-whack.

But sleep issues aren’t just a seasonal problem. It’s estimated that over 60 million Americans suffer from short-term (a few days or weeks) or long-term (more than a month) insomnia.  Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary, which means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem.

We’ve all heard the standard ‘sleep hygiene’ tips about avoiding caffeine, using room-darkening shades, and going to bed at the same time every night. Here are a few other ideas that aren’t as well known.

Nap properly

Taking a nap during the day can be great for productivity and fabulous for health, but you’ve got to do it right. Aim to nap for 20 to 25 minutes, any longer than that and you’ll feel groggy when you wake up and you risk not being able to fall asleep when its bedtime. (If you really want to get good at power naps, there’s a whole kit to help you get it right.)

Be mindful of the temperature.

Take a warm (not hot) shower or bath about an hour before bedtime, and keep your room cool at night. The drop in body temperature signals your body to calm so you’ll fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

Turn off the electronics.

Okay, so you’ve heard this one. But it’s the most important and the least followed piece of advice.

Get an old fashioned alarm clock so you don’t need to use your phone. Turn your phone, iPad, Kindle, or whatever you’ve got off, and put the devices in another room. Yes, a whole other room. You may think that a phone on silent, hanging out on your nightstand, won’t disturb your rest, but it will. Just knowing it’s there puts your body on alert. It’s far too tempting to reach over and ‘just check a few emails’ if you do wake up in the middle of the night. Save yourself. Break this habit.

Get a massage

Yup. Massage can help with sleep issues. There have been several studies demonstrating the efficacy of massage in people with sleep problems, especially when treating secondary issues that may impair sleep, like back pain, pregnancy and migraines.

You can call me at 508-826-1272 and get ready for a better night’s sleep.

 

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Ideal Sitting Posture In A Chair Or On A Physioball

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