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Why is my Skin Suddenly Sensitive?

September 12, 2019

You don’t think you’ve done anything to change your routine, but

you’ve noticed that your skin seems angry and sensitive…what could be

making it so irritable?

Despite what the marketing men try to tell us, ‘sensitive’ isn’t always a

skin type, it’s a very common condition that affects most of us at some

point. It doesn’t matter whether your skin is dry, oily or combination, it

can still be affected by sensitivity and sometimes there doesn’t appear

to be any apparent reason for it. So what are the factors that can

trigger sensitivity, and cause the niggling redness, prickling and stinging

sensations?

The Time of Year

Are you pollen sensitive? If so it can affect more than just your nose

and eyes, with varying seasonal pollen levels really affecting some

people’s skin sensitivity too. Add to that the changes in temperature

and humidity and sometimes your skin can struggle to cope. If this

sounds like you, try to stay indoors on days when the pollen count is

high, and protect your skin with a good quality moisturiser all year

round.

During the cold winter months, keep your skin extra hydrated – invest

in a humidifier to help. In summer time, it goes without saying that you

need extra sun screen, while sun protection should be a year-long

concern.

The Time of Day

Have you noticed that your skin often feels itchier and more sensitive at

night? That’s because your body runs on a biologically programmed 24-

hour (circadian) rhythm, and during the night your cortisol levels

naturally drop while histamine levels can surge. This results in less anti-inflammatory hormone and more itching which can keep the best of us

awake at night. You can reduce the effects of these hormonal changes

by sleeping in breathable fabrics, changing your bedding regularly and

avoiding getting too hot in bed.

Your Time of Life

Different stages in our life can cause changes in skin that affect its

sensitivity.

• Young and teenage skin is prone to hormonal changes and

sometimes it can drive younger women to using harsh skincare

products if they are acne-prone. Unfortunately this can make skin

more sensitive as it strips away the natural protective oils.

• Hormonal upheavals like pregnancy, monthly cycles and

menopause can all have a knock on effect on your skin’s sebum

secretion, which affects its natural function. At the same time,

hormonal changes can cause redness, making skin feel really

sensitive to the touch.

• As we get older, our skin tends to thin, while the sebaceous gland

activity drops. This can weaken your skin’s defenses, and leave it

dehydrated. Although there’s not much we can do to avoid most

of these changes, we can use good quality and age-appropriate

products to make sure we’re caring properly for our skin at all

stages.

Your Lifestyle

Lifestyle plays a big part in skin health. If you’re guilty of having more

than a few late nights, not getting enough sleep or you’re stressed, it

can translate to sensitive skin. The food we eat and the amount of

water we take in can also soothe or irritate. Give your skin the best

possible support by looking after your overall health.

Using the Wrong Skincare Products for Your Skin

Skin can be fragile – with a delicate barrier and excitable nerve endings,

you can overdo the products even if they are expensive, and good

quality. If you’re prone to sensitivity, the rule of thumb should be to

use as few products as possible, containing as few ingredients. Look for

something that’s dermatologically tested and free from alcohol, lanolin,

fragrances and colourants.

Everything You Need To Know About Cellulite. 

September 12, 2019

Cellulite. It’s the bane of a woman’s beauty routine and a marketing minefield. With so many products and treatments available promising to rid you of this orange peel like problem, how do you know what actually works? 

Cellulite happens to us all; it doesn’t matter if you’re underweight, overweight or a perfect weight, the only thing that completely eradicates cellulite is Photoshop. Even models have it. 

Why Do We Get Cellulite?

Cellulite isn’t at all mysterious – it’s just fat. The reason most women get it and most men don’t is in our hormonal make-up. The cellulite appears bumpy because of the way it’s stored, and because it pushes against connective tissue, which makes the skin covering it pucker. 

You’re more likely to have cellulite if: 

1. You crash diet or have a poor diet in general 

2. Your metabolism is slow 

3. You don’t exercise much or at all 

4. You’re dehydrated. 

Hormone changes in puberty, pregnancy and menopause can lead to developing or increasing the amount of cellulite you have, and if you have darker skin, it tends to be less noticeable. 

How Can You Treat Cellulite? 

Depending on how much cellulite you have and how much it bothers you, you might want to consider trying a treatment designed to remove or reduce it. You can disguise the look of cellulite up to a point by having a tanning treatment. The darker your skin color, the less the lumps and bumps will show up, so by tanning your skin you can create an optical illusion of less cellulite. Opt for a self-tanning product or a spray tan in a salon rather than relying on sunbathing which can damage your skin. Holistic Approaches. 

You can try changing the way you eat; increase your water intake, reduce the amount of sodium (salt) you eat and load up on healthy foods that help your body to detoxify naturally like fiber-rich and whole grain foods. Exercise and a good diet will work with your body to shrink the size of your fat cells and if you add in lots of water it helps the collagen in your skin stay supple, reducing the appearance of cellulite bumps. 

Topical Treatments for Cellulite. 

There are many different cellulite products and treatments available that have a temporary effect on your skin, reducing the dimples. Most available treatments and products either have a detoxifying element, usually combined with a deep tissue or lymphatic drainage style massage; or contain ingredients like caffeine which work by dehydrating fat cells. Body scrubs also help by exfoliating the outer layers of skin, making it appear smoother. 

Professional Cellulite Treatments.

There are some effective salon treatments for cellulite, like Endermologie, that have a more long-lasting effect than topically applied treatments and products. Look for a specialized treatment if you are really serious about long term cellulite removal, and expect to have to book a series of sessions before you see noticeable results. Endermologie involves kneading the skin with a rolling suction device to break the cellulite up under the skin and at least six sessions is recommended. The next step along is laser treatment – or radio frequency (RF) treatment. These treatments combine specialized massage techniques with suction to stimulate collagen production, while adding heat which helps to shrink the fat cells (your liver then processes the fat). If cellulite is bothering you, talk to your esthetician about ways you can combat it.

In-Office Massage – Why It's Good for Employers Too.

September 12, 2019

Most people think about massage as a good way to deal with stress. And according to Eastern Kentucky University's online Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety program, health care and missed work days caused by workplace stress cost companies in the US about $300 billion every year http://uk.businessinsider.com/how-stress-at-work-is-costing-employers-300-billion-a-year-2016-6

It makes sense then, to introduce measures that will help stressed employees deal with the physical, mental and emotional effects that stress (in and out of the workplace) can have on them. AOL Media has already successfully introduced free in-office yoga to help relax its employees, and where the Fortune 500 companies lead, the rest of us will usually follow. 

It really does work – the more supported your workforce feels, the more likely they are to remain loyal, stay in the job and not ‘take a sickie’ just because they’ve had enough. So what can you do to help your employees de-stress at work? Yoga might not appeal to everyone, but most people appreciate a massage. 

In-office massage and chair massage programs are one way forward that’s relatively inexpensive – and compared to the amount it might cost you to have an employee go on long term sick leave with stress-related illness, it’s positively cheap. Research backs up the positive effects of massage therapy on performance as well as mental alertness, so you can look forward to better productivity and accuracy as well as less sick leave to worry about. 

It's Not Just About Stress 

Although we think of stress as being the number one condition that massage can help with, many office workers also experience physical symptoms from desk work – and the same applies to factory, warehouse and even driving staff whose work can lead to musculoskeletal injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. These injuries can lead to staff having to take time off sick and are to blame for almost a third of all workers’ compensation awards. Massage can really help reduce the risk of developing this type of injury, which means less absenteeism, fewer compensation claims, and less cost to employers. 

How Does In-Office Massage Work? 

There are different schemes and options you can choose if you’re looking for a great way to bring massage to the masses in your work environment. It’s so easy to incorporate massage therapy into your workplace – you don’t even need a dedicated room or chair to be able to take advantage of this fantastic workplace perk. Many massage therapists offer a corporate service, which usually involves the therapist visiting your office or work premises and giving short massage sessions to employees. These are usually back, neck and shoulder style treatments which can be carried out in an ordinary chair, even while the employee sits at their desk. It’s advised that they do actually switch off for the session and don’t carry on working, though! Larger massage companies may also offer to bring their equipment onto your premises and set up a mini massage room that employees can visit for longer treatments, perhaps for a well-being day, which is a really good way to make employees feel valued as well as giving them a valuable de-stressing opportunity. Why not look into workplace massage as a way to help keep your workforce healthy – you know they will thank you for it.

Help – I’ve Got a Plantar Fasciitis! 

September 20, 2019

Plantar fasciitis, also known as plantar heel pain syndrome (PHPS), is a common problem that can really give you a lot of pain on the sole of your foot, making it hard to walk and even put your weight on your feet. It’s the most common cause of heel pain, and it happens when your plantar fascia – the flat band of tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes - gets weak or inflamed, making your heel or the bottom of your foot hurt to walk on. 

Plantar fasciitis is most common in middle aged people, and often seen in younger people who are on their feet a lot. Some people find that the pain is worse when they wake up and it eases during the day as they walk on the affected foot. It can be a difficult to treat problem, doctors often try steroid injections to no avail, but experts are coming around to the idea that massage therapy and stretching can be more effective at treating the problem than steroid injections or possible surgery. 

Studies into Massage Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis

Research carried out at an outpatient physical therapy clinic in Israel showed that massage was a promising treatment for plantar fasciitis. The researchers studied 69 people with the condition who had been referred to them by an orthopaedic surgeon. One group was given ultrasound treatment combined with stretches and the other was treated with massage therapy and stretches. All the patients were offered eight treatments over six weeks, although only 51 people completed the whole study. When the massage intervention was compared to ultrasound (which isn’t thought to be that effective in treating PHPS anyway) the researchers found that deep tissue massage on the calf muscles combined with stretching exercises was more likely to improve the symptoms than a combination of ultrasound and stretching. Ten minutes of deep pressure massage to the posterior calf was all it took to see a difference in the patients in the study – that’s easy to fit into a massage session so if you’ve been suffering with it, don’t suffer in silence, speak to your therapist and ask her to add in some deep tissue massage to your regular routine. Plantar Fasciitis Stretches. 

To soothe the condition in the long term you’ll need to stretch the plantar fascia – so try pulling up on your foot and toes, then holding the stretch for about 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch five times and do the routine three times a day if you can. Calf muscle stretching has also been shown to be effective in managing PHPS - try a standing calf stretch with your affected foot furthest from the wall and one foot in front of the other. Lean forward keeping your heels on the floor until you feel the stretch in the back of your calf and Achilles tendon. Repeat five times, three times a day.

How Often Do You REALLY Need a Massage? 

September 20, 2019

We’re often asked about how often people should get a massage, and it’s a really difficult question to answer properly as there are so many different factors involved. If you’ve already got a great massage therapist who knows you and your lifestyle, it’s a great idea to have a chat with her and come up with a guide to how often massage would be good for you personally. The main things you need to consider are your overall health, stress levels, whether you’re in any kind of pain and also whether you are a regular exerciser or athlete. You’ll certainly be able to get the best from your massages if you have them regularly to keep up the benefits. 

Massage helps in so many ways; it relaxes you, improves your circulation, relieves pain and can even help to manage long term pain conditions like arthritis. When You’re Stressed. Whether the stress is coming from your everyday work, or a life event that’s knocked you for six, a massage can be a real tonic. If the stress is long term and ongoing, it figures that your massage therapy should be the same. If your job involves frequent travel, it’s also a good idea to get a massage more regularly as this can put a lot of stress on your body on top of the inactivity from driving or flying. A weekly or bi-weekly massage is ideal if you are really feeling the pressure, because the tension can build up when you’re dealing with stressful situations and before you know it, it can get on top of you. Just scheduling in that bit of weekly me-time can go a long way towards relaxing you and helping you deal with the things that are stressing you out. 

When You’re in Physical Pain. 

Massage can be a very good pain reliever. If you are in chronic pain and don’t want to keep taking higher and higher doses of pain meds to try and alleviate it, it can be worth trying a regular course of massage therapy to get on top of the pain and manage it better. Find a massage therapist you trust and tell them that you are dealing with a chronic pain condition. If they are able to help they might also suggest techniques like deep tissue massage and craniosacral therapy to try alongside a massage on a regular basis. For chronic pain, at least a weekly massage is recommended – more if the pain is severe, at least to start with. You can then reduce to weekly, or bi-weekly, depending on how you feel. 

When You Exercise A Lot.

 It’s important to make sure that your muscles and joints are kept in the best possible health when you’re an athlete or do a lot of exercise. Higher levels of physical activity are great for your fitness but can put strain on joints and leave you prone to injury. If you’re very sporty or an athlete you could consider a twice-weekly massage – even more if you’re training for an event. Once or twice a month is fine if you’re not in training. Massage is a great way to give yourself a competitive advantage as you can train harder without having to worry about injuring yourself. In General. 

If you just want to have a massage for the health benefits but don’t have any medical or physical needs, a massage once or twice a month should be all you need to get the benefits of regular massage. Scheduling in a relaxing massage treatment for yourself on a regular basis means that you can build on the effects of each session, whereas if you only have a massage occasionally you have to start again from scratch every time! Just talk to your massage therapist if you’re looking for great advice on how many sessions you need – it’s what we’re here for!

The Benefits of Pre-Event Sports Massage Therapy.

September 20, 2019

If you’re taking part in a sports event, you’ll probably be training hard and eating well to make sure that your body is as well prepared as possible. But what about pre-event massage? Did you know that there are many benefits to preparing your muscles – and mind with massage therapy? 

What Is Pre-Event Sports Massage? 

A massage is considered ‘pre-event’ if it happens anytime from two days to immediately before the event and is a great way to get yourself into the perfect frame of mind to take on the race or event. It’s common for athletes to have a massage session right before a big event, and an immediately pre-event massage will most likely be short and to the point, unlike your usual massage sessions. Usually a pre-event massage will last 10-15 minutes and be treated as part of a warm up. The massage should be carried out before the rest of your warm up as it’s relaxing for your muscles and might undo all the good work of the warm up if you have it afterwards! A massage just before an event won’t need oils or lubricants as these can be uncomfortable when you’re taking part in an event. 

Why Would You Have a Pre-Event Sports Massage? 

The most important benefit of a pre-event sports massage is that it can help boost the blood supply to your muscles. This is obviously a good thing – you want your muscles to perform at their best during an event. Pre-event massage techniques often involve compression and friction to warm up muscles and get the blood flowing to where you need it for your top performance. Having a pre-event massage may also be a great supplement to your normal warm up session as it helps accomplish the same goals as a warm up. Pre-event massage is especially useful for stretching out the muscles and soft tissues in preparation for the event. 

Massage also helps joint mobility

– a definite bonus for any sporting performance. More flexible joints give athletes an advantage, especially if the events needs you to be supple and agile. If speed is the main requirement, massage that promotes joint mobility might be best avoided immediately prior to an event as it can slow you down. Massage would still benefit speedy athletes in the weeks leading up to an event though. There’s no doubt that massage can improve your state of mind in the lead up to a big event. It can help you if you suffer with re-event nerves and help you to get focused on performing well in your chosen sport. So, if you want to make the next race, game or event your best ever, consider adding a few pre-event massage appointments to your training calendar!