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From Tip to Toe: Everything You Need to Know about Massages

There are so many benefits to receiving a massage, most of us know about the stress relief and relaxation component but what we didn’t know is that there are so many more benefits. This article will unpack the different types of massages that an individual can receive and also look at the benefits of receiving a massage.

Benefits of massaging – Stress relief

Everybody; no matter what your job title or your background, you have experienced stress at one point in your life.

Whenever the word stress is mentioned we usually have a negative connotation towards the word, however, stress is not always a bad thing, sometimes stress can push us to accomplish goals and set new ones.

Stress can be the driving force that pushes you to get things done. When you experience stress, your body experiences a rush of adrenaline which boosts your heart rate, cortisol is released to boost your blood sugar, and diverts energy from your digestive system and immune response – when your body experiences all of this then stress is doing its job because it causes you to take action just as it taught prehistoric humans how to use this experience to fight their enemies.

Stress can be considered as negative when an individual does not have relief from it. When a person is under pressure or feels stressed their brain will automatically respond in fight or flight- this response to situations could be problematic. According to research, stress can bring about or make certain diseases and symptoms worse.

Stress can cause changes in behaviour:

  • Outbursts of anger.
  • Abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs.
  • Eating to reduce stress or lack of eating.
  • Withdrawal from social situations.
  • The use of tobacco and tobacco products.

Stress can cause changes in mood:

  • Stress can bring on or worsen anxiety.
  • It can cause an individual to be irritable or angry.
  • Stress can cause a lack of motivation and focus.
  • Restlessness is also a symptom of stress.
  • Sadness and depression can also be caused by stress.

Stress can cause changes in the body of an individual who is experiencing it:

  • You may experience chest pains.
  • Stress may cause headaches.
  • It is not uncommon to experience muscle tension and pain.
  • Stress may affect your stress drive.
  • You may experience difficulty sleeping.
  • Stress may even cause stomach upset.

How massage therapy can help alleviate stress.

Did you know that going for a massage can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles, and increase the release of endorphins?

After receiving a massage, you will feel relaxed and revitalized, resulting in a feeling of calmness.

Massages can assist you with combating daily pressures and anxiety – a mental condition that seems to be becoming quite popular in our fast-paced, ever-changing world.

Benefits of massaging – Improve circulation.

If you are someone who suffers from bad blood circulation, receiving a massage can help improve your circulation.

Massaging can loosen muscles and tendons which will allow for increased blood flow through the body.

Increased blood flow has a number of benefits: namely, its decreases the risk of heart diseases such as cholesterol, coronary heart disease and heart attacks; good blood circulation allows your white blood cells which are located in your immune system to be transported around the body as needed, in addition, good blood circulation will keep your organs in good shape and working condition.

Benefits of massaging – Reduce pain.

Another benefit of massage therapy is that it will help you reduce pain and stiffness in your muscles. You need to ensure that you are seeing a massage therapist who can identify the source of pain and help achieve your body’s needs by using the right massaging routine.

 

Benefits of massaging – Eliminate toxins.

Massaging stimulates your soft tissue which releases toxins which has a number of health benefits. Detoxification can boost your energy levels, support digestion, assist with weight management, reduces inflammation, promotes healthy skin, it helps strengthen your immune system and can even affect your mood in a positive way.

Benefits of massaging – Improve flexibility.

It is a well-known fact that yoga helps improve your flexibility but what you didn’t know is that massaging can also help improve your flexibility. Massaging loosens your muscles which helps your body reach its full potential in terms of movement.

Benefits of massaging – Improve sleeplessness.

If you have trouble sleeping, your answer could be as simple as getting a massage. Massaging helps you to relax and boost your mood. Going to sleep with a peaceful mind and relaxed muscles will help you have a restful sleep and help you feel less tired when you start your day.

Benefits of massaging – Enhance immunity.

Having a strong immune system has a number of health benefits. Having a strong immune system will assist your body’s natural defence system. Defence against what you may ask? Against viruses, diseases and harmful bacteria.

Benefits of massaging – May reduce fatigue.

As mentioned above, massage therapy is proven to boost your mood and help you have a better nights’ rest which in result, helping you feel more rested and less worn-out at the end of your twenty-four-hour day.

Benefits of massaging – Help with the effects of anxiety & depression.

There are a lot of people in this day and age that suffer from mental illness such as anxiety and depression, it is not uncommon and is very popular in our fast-paced lives.

Massage therapy encourages your brain to release the ‘feel-good’ chemical known as endorphins. Endorphins help you feel good, energetic, happy and at ease – these are all emotions which are rare when you suffer from any one of these mental illnesses.

Benefits of massaging – Reduce swelling.

After you have gone in for a surgery or even after an injury the result is usually swelling, massage therapy can help to alleviate the after-effects and reduce swelling.

The different types of massages – Swedish massage.

Swedish massaging is the most common form of massage.

The goal of the Swedish massage is to relax the entire body from head to toe, this is accomplished by massaging the muscles with long glided strokes in the direction of the blood as it returns to your heart.

Swedish massaging can also be beneficial for increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, detoxifying, improving blood circulation, and improving flexibility. Additional massage techniques known to the Swedish massage is circular pressure applied by the massage therapist’s hands and palms, firm kneading, bending & stretching and percussion tapping.

 

The different types of massages – Hot stone massage.

Hot stone massage therapy helps your body relax, eases tense muscles and damaged soft tissue throughout the body.

The technique that is used by a massage therapist doing a hot stone massage will place smooth, flat, hot stones onto specific parts of your body.

The stones that are used in a hot stone massage are not the ordinary stones found in your garden, they are made of basalt which is a volcanic rock that is known to retain heat.

The stones are heated to 130 to 145 degrees before being placed on your body.

The stones can be placed along your back, stomach, on your chest, on your palms, feet, toes and even on your face.

Hot stone massages are helpful for relieving pain & tension, reduce mental illnesses such as stress & anxiety, promote sleep, reduce symptoms of autoimmune diseases, decrease symptoms of cancer and boost your immune system.

The different types of massages – Aromatherapy massage.

Aromatherapy massages use essential oils during massage treatment.

Aromatherapy massages are not designed to physically work out the tension and the sore parts of your body, rather the purpose is to use the restorative properties of essential oils to relax the body and your mind. There is an essential oil for any problem that you may be faced with.

In aromatherapy massaging the motion and the technique is not as important, the important aspect of the massage the essential oil with its healing properties.

Essential Oils and their healing properties:

Ailment Essential Oil
Stress Lavender, clary sage, lemon
Inflammation Chamomile, helichrysum
Insomnia Chamomile, clary sage, marjoram, patchouli
Lack of energy Eucalyptus, grapefruit, lemongrass, rosemary
Depression Nutmeg, lemon, bergamot, anise

 

The different types of massages – Deep tissue massage.

Deep tissue massages involve applying firm pressure to the area that the therapist is massaging using small strokes to penetrate deeper layers of muscles and the connecting tissue that surrounds muscles.

It is beneficial for postural problems, improves mobility that is limited, relieves back & neck pain, helps with sports-related muscle recovery, assists with injury rehabilitation, and eases muscle tension. Common techniques of a deep tissue massage are known as stripping and friction.

Deep tissue massages sound as if they are painful but the truth is it is not painful and shouldn’t be, you may feel discomfort but the pain will make your body tense up which is not ideal for the massage therapist.

The different types of massages – Deep tissue massage.

The molten wax of a soy candle is poured over the skin to melt away tension whilst receiving a full body massage.

The benefits of the soy candle wax are as follows: the oil absorbs easily into the skin, it is rich in vitamin E which your skin needs, after the massage your skin will feel nourished/hydrated & rejuvenated, soy candles have healing properties, the candle relieves skin conditions such as dry skin/eczema/cracked heels/rough cuticles, and in addition the candle wax contains essential oils.

 

The different types of massages – Sports massage.

Sports massaging involves vigorous and deep muscle stimulation. Sports massages are specific and work deeper on the muscles with a specific area and goal in mind.

These types of massages help to increase nutrients and oxygen to your muscles.

The benefits of a sports massage are increased range of motion, they help decrease the build-up of lactic acid, they decrease the potential of muscle injuries, sports massages help increase blood circulation and increase cellular metabolism.

The different types of massages – Pregnancy massage.

Many women wonder if it is safe to receive a massage whilst pregnant, the answer is yes, it is! It is safe to receive a message in your first, second and third trimester of pregnancy.

A pregnancy massage is any kind of hands-on massage which a woman receives during pregnancy. The most common position is for a pregnant woman to lay on her side whilst receiving a pregnancy massage because this is most likely the most comfortable position for her.

The benefits of receiving a massage whilst pregnant are that it can reduce anxiety, decrease back and leg pains, improve sleeping patterns, it can also improve your mood, and decrease levels of the stress hormone which is known as norepinephrine.

Examples of common types of massaging techniques which are used on pregnant ladies are the Swedish massage, deep tissue massages and shiatsu.

Looking for the perfect wellness spa? Contact the Aurora Wellness Spa.

The Aurora Wellness Spa is a great place to visit if you need to relax, alleviate stress, promote blood circulation, feel good, improve sleeplessness, reduce pain, detoxify or reduce pain and swelling in your muscles.

They have a variety of treatments available in terms of massage therapy, namely: Swedish massage, hot stone massage, aromatherapy massage, deep tissue massage, soy candle massage, sport massage, back/neck/shoulder massage, foot & leg massage, head massage and even massage therapy routines specially put together for pregnant ladies.

Not satisfied?

You can even add on your favourite treatment whether it be hot stones, aromatherapy, body wraps, exfoliation, cupping massages and boogie legs treatments.

Contact the Aurora Wellness Spa for Details

Contact Aurora Wellness Spa to book your spa day or massage therapy treatment today, you can contact them directly on 021 110 5500 or book your appointment online www.auroraspa.co.za. You will find a list of all of their treatments on their website so have a look and happy window shopping.

Is Exfoliation the Anti-Aging Secret You’ve Been Looking for?

Is Exfoliation the Anti-Aging Secret You’ve Been Looking for?

Before we get started on how important exfoliation is, here are some facts about skin ageing that you may not know:

  • Your skin starts to age at 25 – Collagen is the protein that holds your skin together, but as time goes on and we get older, our bodies stop producing as much collagen, which leads to wrinkles and sagging skin. While the effects of skin ageing may only start to show in your thirties, the ageing process actually starts in your mid-twenties, which makes 25 the best age to begin using anti-ageing products.
  • Facial movements like smiling, frowning or squinting could lead to wrinkles and facial lines – Every time you use the muscles in your face, a groove forms beneath the surface of your skin. As you get older, your skin starts to lose some of its flexibility; it does not stay as capable of bouncing back as it was before and so it starts turning those grooves into permanent wrinkles or lines.
  • Sleeping on your side causes wrinkles on your cheeks and chin and sleeping on your face causes furrowed brows – So how are we supposed to sleep? A dermatologist can tell you exactly what your preferred sleeping position is, just from one look at your face. They say that the best position to sleep in, if you can and want to minimize any of those wrinkles, is on your back, you can even find special pillows that will assist in stopping you from laying on your side. If you still cannot get it right, you can also try investing in a satin or silk pillowcase, as this can cause less friction against your face, and prevents wrinkles from forming.
  • You may be causing your face to lose moisture if you are washing it more than twice a day – Our skin produces natural oil, this oil creates a barrier on the outer layer of your skin, which traps the moisture inside and protects your skin from any harm. While ensure your face is clean is important, with each time you wash your face, you are stripping your skin of those natural oils, and over-cleansing can often leave your skin looking and feeling dry.
  • When compared to non-smokers, smokers are much more likely to develop leathery skin and wrinkles – Smoking can drastically speed up your skins ageing process, which is why smokers tend t get wrinkles faster than non-smokers do. Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, and each of these chemicals damages the collagen and elastin in your skin, this means that second-hand smoke can also cause damage to your skin.
  • You can reduce skin ageing by 24% by using sunscreen every day – The leading cause of skin ageing is the sun, yet we always seem to forget to apply sunscreen every day. Even if you spend most of your day indoors, the UV rays responsible for skin ageing can penetrate through glass, and can still affect your skin on a cloudy day, which makes applying sunscreen every day extremely important.
  • Soda has a high level of phosphate, which can prematurely age your skin – Phosphates are added to soda to give it that fizz we all love, and acting as a preservative as well. However, drinking two sodas in a week is enough to upset the balance of phosphates, which can lead to an acceleration in your ageing process, as well as other health issues, from brittle bones to skin atrophy to kidney disease.
  • Once you understand what the causes of skin ageing are, it gets a little easier to take those necessary measures that are needed to prevent this from happening before it should. Whether it is as simple as changing the position you sleep in or making a change in your lifestyle where you no longer smoke and drink fizzy drinks, it will not be long before you start to notice the effects and advantages, which will make your efforts worthwhile.

Need to know more about exfoliation? Then the below is a must-read for you. When it comes to anti-ageing, regular exfoliation is one of the most common and effective ways to promote younger-looking skin. In addition to exfoliations the main purpose of getting rid of dead skin cells and promoting smoother and softer skin, it can also get rid of cellulite, increase circulation and unbelievably, it can even assist your body with its natural regeneration process. All of the above result in firmer, brighter and healthier-looking skin.

Curious to find out more? Great, because below are many more ways to exfoliate:

Exfoliating aids in cellular turnover

As we get older, our body’s natural ability to sked skin cells slows down. Younger skin will generally regenerate every 28 days, however, as time passes, the natural turnover rate also declines. According to Kevin Dooley, who is the Lead Esthetician at True Botanicals, this can lead to many different changes and cause a change in texture, clogged pores and overall dull-looking skin.

Fortunately, for us, by exfoliating on a regular basis, we can help speed things up by trying to unclog our pores and improve your overall cellular turnover. This will then allow the skin to properly operate and leave you with softer, smoother and healthier-looking skin.

Exfoliation will enhance absorption of topical skincare products

Along with aiding in your body’s natural regeneration process and getting rid of dead skin cells, exfoliating on a regular basis will help you to enhance absorption of topical skincare products. This will also ensure maximum delivery of the potent nutrients in your everyday products in order to penetrate to the deep layers of the skin, which is where the ageing process initiates.

Exfoliating can stimulate collagen and elastin production

Because of exfoliation’s ability to stimulate the overall cellular turnover, it can also help produce collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are absolutely crucial when it comes to anti-ageing and youthful-looking skin. This is because both collagen and elastin work together to improve its ability to stretch and bounce back and strengthen the skin’s structure. As we get older, our elastin and collagen levels decrease, so having that boost in production can get rid of wrinkles and leave your skin looking younger and more refreshed.

It can boosts circulation and support your body’s natural detoxification process

According to Katherine Tomasso, Yon-Kaa Paris’ National Director of Education, the stimulating action of exfoliation is able to boost your circulation as well as support your body’s natural detoxifying process. In addition, this will help get rid of cellulite, fade the look of stretch marks and more. In addition to smoother, more supple-looking and softer skin, regular exfoliation allows for healthier, newer skin cells to develop. As stated before, sloughing off those already dead skin cells can promote cellular regeneration, enhance the body’s detoxification process and boost circulation – all of which contribute to healthier, newer skin cells.

It can brighten your skin and help with moisture loss

Dead skin cells are not the only cause of dry, rough skin; they are also the cause of dull skin. Exfoliation does not only help with getting rid of the dullness and promotion of a more illuminated and brighter complexion, but you may also start to see an increase in moisture levels if you are using an exfoliant formulated with Alpha Hydroxy Acid. Alpha Hydroxy Acid has been proven to stimulate the production of natural hyaluronic acid and ceramides to prevent moisture loss. It can also help with hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin-triggering enzymes.

Types of Exfoliation

Before talking about the most common forms of exfoliation, let us talk about the different types of exfoliation. There are two ways to get rid of dead skin, namely; Physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation.

With physical exfoliation, this means that something is physically sloughing off the dead skin, for example, a brush, grains, even a scalpel. Then we get chemical exfoliation, where chemical and acids are used to remove dead skin and help with cell turnover. Both of these types of exfoliation are effective and can promote smoother, brighter and softer skin. It all depends on your preferences.

The Most Popular Ways to Exfoliate

Now that the exfoliation basics have been covered, below are some of the most popular ways to exfoliate your skin:

  • Salt & Sugar Scrubs: This is perhaps one of the most common ways to exfoliate the skin. The physical exfoliant is often formulated with an oil that nourishes the skin, such as coconut oil. They help to get rid of the dead skin cells and nourish your skin at the same time.
  • Dry Brushing: Dry brushing is another way you can exfoliate your skin. With dry brushing, you make use of a dry, natural-bristle brush to slough off the dead skin cells and promote circulation within your skin. In addition, there is more, using a dry brush to exfoliate your skin can also help you firm and tighten your skin, get rid of cellulite and help reduce the look of stretch marks.
  • Peels: Peels are one of the most popular ways to chemically exfoliate your skin. Facial peels that you can use at home usually utilise Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids in order to penetrate your skin and get rid of the dead skin cell build-up.

Some Interesting Facts about Chemical Peels:

How are chemical peels different from other forms of exfoliation?

Chemical peeps are generally composed of acids, and some of these acids may vary in their PH value. (The lower the PH value is, the stronger the actual acid will be.) Acids are quite effective when it comes to exfoliation of the skin, however, because of how strong they are, certain acid-based peels that have more than 10% total acid and also have a PH that is below 3.5, should always be done under the guidance of a professional.

While most chemical peels are usually based on a particular type of acid, the exfoliators that you can use in the comfort of your own home may contain granular ingredients like rice bran wax or almonds. Even though these methods are not as strong as acid exfoliators, they are still great ways to exfoliate your skin regularly, and they should be used anywhere from 2 to 3 times a week or as recommended by your doctor or skincare professional if you are going to a professional for your skin.

What types of peels do you get?

Chemical peels are generally categorised into 3 different categories:

  • Deep Peels: These types of peels are usually the most invasive and riskiest. Carbonic Acid is a solution which is classically used to do a deep peel, But it can be quite painful to your skin. This method is usually performed under medical supervision. After receiving a Phenol Peel, your face will be quite swollen and it can take up to 4 weeks to fully recover from it.

Below are some of the downsides to having a deep peel:

  • Redness
  • Peeling
  • Blistering
  • Irritation
  • Burning
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Solar Sensitivity
  • Medium Peels: When getting a medium peel, they will commonly use a chemical called Trichloroacetic Acid. TCA peels are usually done on an outpatient basis, but it can also require mild sedation, it all depends on the concentration of Trichloroacetic that is used. A higher concentration of the acid will penetrate your skin more deeply, which will result in a much more dramatic improvement, nut it can also cause you to have more discomfort and need longer recovery time. Even though a TCA chemical peel will be applied in the exact same way as a milder chemical peel, the acid used in a TCA peel will be much stronger, causing a more significant burn to your skin. After having a TCA peel, a superficial crust will form over your skin, and within 3 to 7 days, it will start to peels off.
  • Superficial Peels: A superficial peel is the mildest chemical peel you get, and thus the safest peel for your skin. These peels can contain lactic acid, glycolic acid, papaya enzymes or fruit acids. Unlike medium or deeps peels, a superficial peel usually does not require medical attention. The purpose of superficial peels is also to avoid those harsh side effects that may occur when having a medium or deep chemical peel done.

At Aurora Wellness Spa, we offer a wide range of beauty and skincare products and treatments including chemical peels. Visit our website on www.auroraspa.co.za for more information.

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