Tag Archives: massage

The Benefits of Self-Massage Using the Stick

3 Aug

By Marcela De Vivo

What if you didn’t have to count on somebody else to give you a massage? When your muscles are sore, achy and tired, you won’t always have someone willing to do the work for you, unless, of course, you opt to pay for a professional massage. A self-massage doesn’t seem like a workable or practical solution, since we can’t even reach the areas of our body that need it the most.

However, if you feel like you would benefit from a regular self-massage, there is a way you can do it on your own with a product called The Stick.

Back Pain

The Stick is designed to mimic the work of a massage therapist and give you nearly all of the same benefits you would receive from actually going to one. It’s also crafted in such a way that enables you to administer the massage yourself, even when trying to reach your back.

Using it on a daily basis is similar to getting a massage with that same amount of regularity, and can benefit you in the following areas:

1. Muscle soreness and knots — If you’re an active person and spend a lot of time working out or enjoy engaging in some kind of physical activity, you’re guaranteed to experience sore and knotted muscles. The Stick can alleviate that pain and help you to regularly tend to these overworked areas.

2. Lower back pain — When your arms or shoulders are sore, you have at least some ability to reach them with your own hands if need be. Your lower back, on the other hand, is pretty much out of reach unless you have a tool like The Stick that can help you reach it.

Being able to self-massage your back can decrease lower back pain and actually improve your posture along with the muscles around your spinal column.

3. Circulation — Massaging any muscle in your body will increase circulation and encourage blood flow to and throughout that part of your body. This can be beneficial for injuries, migraines, tension headaches or just encouraging overall circulation. Again, the advantage here is that you can administer the massage with much greater regularity, thereby increasing the benefits and positive results.

4. Stress — A massage has long been known as one of the best ways to deal with both physical and mental stress. If you can make it a regular part of your relaxation routine every evening, than you should see a huge drop in your stress and tension levels. This happens on both a physical and psychological level, since a massage causes your body to release endorphins and can also lower your blood pressure.

5.  Sports and athletic performance — If you’re an athlete, or even just active in recreational sports, The Stick can benefit you both before and after a workout or an athletic event. Massaging the muscles you use the most is crucial for both a warm up and cool down phase, primarily because of the extra circulation and the amount of oxygen that it’s bringing to your muscles.

Overall Health

A regular massage is an effective way to improve your overall health and wellness, not just isolated areas of your body. Since The Stick allows you to do it yourself, you’ll see tremendous benefits in all these areas, which will lead to an improvement in your overall health and condition, if you use it regularly.

Marcela De Vivo is a health and beauty writer for a Miami salon, Bellezza Spa, yoga enthusiast and mother of three. Because she can’t count on her kids to give her a massage, she personally practices yoga on a daily basis and uses other products, like The Stick, to ease muscle tension and soreness. Follow her onTwitter today!

Feeling Tired? Try These Natural Remedies for Fatigue

13 Oct

Here is a great guest post by Kim Willington!

Most of us are trying to juggle too much and squeeze the most out of every minute of the day. We are working too long. We are not taking time for ourselves. And we are not getting the sleep we need.

It’s not wonder most of us are so tired all the time.

While fatigue could be a symptom of an underlying health problem, for most of us, it’s just a symptom of our unbalanced lives. You don’t need prescription drugs to help you get more pep in your step. Try these natural remedies to help you fight fatigue:

Massage

Fatigue can be caused by an imbalance in your body, which can often be created by having too much stress. Massage can provide relief and help you to counteract the effects of stress, helping you to restore balance in your body and improve your energy levels. Massage also promotes healthy circulation, which can improve energy levels.

Exercise

How do you feel after you jump off the treadmill? You may be tired, but chances are you aren’t interested in taking a nap. While exercise may make you feel physically “tired” from working your muscles, it will improve your energy by revving up your heart rate and increasing levels of feel-good hormones.

Aim for about 30 minutes a day to get the benefits. Longer periods of exercise, or very intense periods of exercise, can contribute to your fatigue by overworking your body.

Eat a Healthy Diet

The wrong kinds of foods can contribute to fatigue. For example, sugars and simple carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to become out of balance, spiking and crashing energy levels. Excessive fats can overwork the liver, leading to fatigue.

Stick to a healthy diet that includes lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats, and you will maintain steady energy levels throughout the day. Also be sure to drink plenty of pure water.

Take Supplements

Often, fatigue can be caused by a deficiency of some vitamin or nutrient in your diet. You can correct these deficiencies by taking a good multi-vitamin to start and then looking into other possible supplements. Some key supplements that influence energy levels include Vitamin B12, magnesium, Vitamin C, and Coenzyme Q10.

Sleep

The most obvious remedy for fatigue is to get more sleep. Your body needs a minimum of 8 hours each sleep each night, but most Americans do not get the recommended amount. Slowly make more time for sleep by going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night or waking up 15 minutes later each day. Continue to adjust your time until you are getting the right amount of sleep.

Power naps can also help you to get the sleep you need. Be careful not to oversleep in the middle of the day as it could cause you to stay up too late at night and throw off your sleep cycle.

If you try these natural remedies for fatigue and you still don’t have more energy, you may need to see a doctor to find out if there are any underlying causes for your fatigue. Emotional problems like depression or chronic stress can also lead to chronic fatigue. Be sure to talk to a healthcare provider to better understand what might be causing your fatigue and find out how you can combat it.

What other natural remedies do you use to fight fatigue? Share your tips in the comments!

Kim Willington is a freelance writer and researcher for Helpdesksoftware.org, where she has recently been researching help desk software. In her spare time, she enjoys antiquing and taking long walks with her retriever, Spencer.

Thank you Kim…I would like to add that The Stick is an excellent tool for self-massage without breaking the bank account.

Quads

Massage is a Great Way to Relax

17 Jul

Today we have a guest post from Melanie Bowen.  Melanie  joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2011 as an awareness advocate for natural health and cancer cure initiatives.

Massage is a Great Way to Relax

Studies repeatedly show that massage therapy is one of the best ways to increase quality of life amongst cancer patients. People often overlook the benefits of massage when it comes to decreasing pain and improving mood. Massage is a great way to unwind from stress and provides long-lasting results.

Dealing with cancer issues can put pressure on anyone’s life. It is always good to discover multiple ways to unwind and get perspective without always relying completely on medication. Add massage to your therapeutic arsenal. Many doctors agree that massage is a great adjunct to conventional therapies. It can also be modified easily to any patient’s particular needs.

Pain and stress are typically immense factors when dealing with cancer issues. This is a good time to consider massage therapy. It does not interfere with other treatments and takes minimum effort. This means that a wide range of cancer survivors can benefit from this trusted form of hands-on relaxation. Studies show that the expert touch of trained personnel can help pain and stress fall away. Sometimes this benefit can even be obtained within just one session.

One of the best things about massage is that it is readily accessible. Massage is one of the most popular ways to relax. There are many certified massage therapists available in any given area. It is even a part of outpatient and clinical therapy programs. It is a good idea to bring up the idea of massage therapy with your physician. This way you can find out if massage therapy is a good match for you. They will often be glad to help you find the right program for your needs. Massage is just one those kinds of therapies which nearly everyone can benefit.

Cancer patients that undergo massage for just minutes a day can see quick benefits. They often notice decreased pain and better mood. Having professionals work stress out of painful joints and muscles is a plus in anyone’s book. Today’s massage experts have a range of therapeutic techniques that can be modified for your needs and requirements. Even mesothelioma patients benefit from this non-strenuous therapy with specialized care. Everyone has heard about the healing power of touch. Have professional massage and feel the benefits for yourself.

Consult your doctor and find a therapy that will work best for you and your treatment because professional therapists know how to work that tension out right away. It is good to take moments during the day to relax. Massage therapy is not a cure but is a great addition to a multifaceted approach. It goes along with other forms of exercise, especially after a strenuous workout.

Just think about how nice it will be to get expert attention to aching muscles. Tension can melt away in just minutes. Contact your physician and find out more about how massage can benefit you. Give your mind, body and spirit a vacation from some of life’s everyday stressors and get out there and soak up all the benefits massage therapy has to offer!

Thank you Melanie!

Partner Work With The Stick

2 Jun

The Stick is meant to be used as a self-massage tool.  However, it can be used by one person on another.  Many practitioners use The Stick in their treatments on clients and patients.  Here are a couple of videos posted by 70’sBig.com .  The guys in the video are using the Stiff Stick.

Mobility – The Stick – Part 1

 

Mobility – The Stick – Part 2

 

A Gift of Health – The Stick

5 Jan

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Here is an article posted on Telegraph.co.uk.  The title is:                                                                                                 

Give him the gift of health

A gizmo that’s good for you – what more could a man ask? We test the latest hi-tech, healthy gadgets

The Stick

Perfect for runners who complain about their aches and pains

£31.99, from www.the-stick.co.uk and branches of Runners Need (020 7278 9486, runnersneed.co.uk)

One of the nicest things about taking part in the Great South Run earlier this year was the post-race massage. An army of physios were on hand to rub away the aches, which really did help. Alas, attempts at persuading my partner to massage the knots away are not always successful. And splashing out on a sports massage is a bit of an extravagance. So this Christmas, I’m hoping for a new piece of kit called the Stick, so I can do the job myself.

Shaped like a magic wand, the flexible rod is made up of spindles that roll independently of each other. The idea is to hold it at either end and roll it up and down the core muscles of the legs.

It can be used before exercise to loosen muscles or as a recovery tool afterwards. Flexing the stick around the leg ensures that pressure is applied evenly across the spindles, so they work like the kneading fingers of an expert masseur. And it achieves the same result – restoring life to damaged muscle tissue. This isn’t something I’d normally buy myself – which makes it the ideal gift. And as staying injury-free is a constant battle, the Stick could be a very useful weapon in my armoury.

Tarquin Cooper

Click here to see the whole article

You may also wan to check out the blog post – The Gift That Keeps on Roll’n!

Can’t Sleep? Try a Massage

3 Jan

Sleepless Nights? Try a Massage

By Daisy Sutherland

 Do you suffer from sleepless nights? You are not alone sleep disorders are very common. Most people do not realize that massage can in fact help improve your sleep. Massage therapy is a known method to reduce stress and tension, but can it actually help with your sleep disorders? Research shows that massage therapy can remedy your sleepless nights.

 Our bodies have an autonomic system that is made of two parts: the sympathetic and parasympathetic system. The parasympathetic system keeps the sympathetic system balanced. When you are stressed the sympathetic system is triggered and you will feel the sensation of fight or flight. The parasympathetic system is activated during a massage and allows your body to slow down and relax. If stress or tension are causes for your sleeplessness you will be relieved to know that one of the benefits of massage enhanced sleep patterns. Many actually fall asleep while having a professional massage.

 Massage helps to reduce stress, improve circulation, soothe aching muscles, release tension and reduce or lower your blood pressure. It is thought that it can also stimulate the immune system. These relaxing results may therefore make massage a helpful aid in restoring restful sleep. Massage is even more beneficial when restless nights stem from stress, migraine headaches, and pain and muscle stiffness. Several studies have shown massage therapy to not only lessen lower back pain and headaches, but also by reducing the stress, anxiety and depression making restful sleep achievable. (Hernandez-Reif et al, 2001; Sunshine et al, 1996; Field et al, 2002; Hernandez-Reif et al, 1998)

 Sleep is required for the immune system to work at its optimum level. If the immune system is compromised, the ability of our body to heal itself is also compromised. If we are stressed or sleep deprived, our health is seriously compromised. Massage can help relieve the stress and tension. Massage does not necessarily need to be done by a professional to capture all its benefits. You can ask your friend, partner, spouse or family member for a soothing rubdown. You can also give yourself a mini massage, concentrating on the muscle groups you can reach.

 Relaxation techniques, such as massage therapy can definitely reduce stresses, and frustrations leading to the tossing and turning and anxiety of sleepless nights. Therapeutic massage can have not only external physical benefits but internal benefits as well. Massage and aromatherapy can relax your muscles and help with blood and lymph circulation. A massage can help reduce the nerve irritation and can help with increased production of pain-killing endorphins. There are many sweet smelling balms and massage oils on the market used to relieve stress. The aroma and the feel of the oils offer a calming and relaxing environment.

 There are different types of therapeutic massage techniques that can help and some are listed below.

Reflexology: This type of massage focuses on specific ‘reflex zones’ on your feet. This type of massage relieves  tension and pain and improves circulation in the areas of your body that corresponds to the reflex zones of the feet.

Sports Massage: This type of massage improves athletic performance and endurance by massaging specific  muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Neuromuscular Massage: This massage type focuses on the connective tissues, tendons and ligaments and nerves. This particular massage focuses on the tension areas called ‘trigger points’.

Swedish Massage: This massage has a smooth and flowing style. It focuses on overall relaxation, circulation, and range of motion and relieves muscular tension.

Rolfing: This massage is not as relaxing it tends to be more painful. IT is painful because it focuses on the deeper soft tissues of the joints.

 Some areas to concentrate on when massaging to promote relaxation and restful sleep are the temples of the head. The motion should be small circular movement done with fingers and hands. Another areas to promote relaxation are the scalp, forehead, face, neck and upper shoulders. Much of our stress is carried in the shoulder area, so relaxing and massaging this area will definitely create relief.

 There are many reasons that massage and sleep make a perfect match: 

  • Eliminates headaches
  • Relieves stress
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Reduces lower pain and strain
  • Relaxes nervous tension
  • Increases blood circulation
  • Eases chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Assists with weight control

 After a relaxing massage, sleep will be restored as a time of rest instead as a time of restlessness. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and help with the release and filtration of toxins. You will feel more relaxed with reduced stress and tension and be able to sleep all night long. You will wake up refreshed and ready to start a new day.

Dr. Mommy (aka Dr. Daisy) is a Doctor of Chiropractic by profession, wife, mom to 5 beautiful children, freelance and content writer, speaker and Health/Wellness Advocate. Her passion is to teach the public how to live healthier and happier lives. Visit her site for health tips: Dr. Mommy Health Tips http://drmommyhealthtips.com

 Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dr._Daisy_Sutherland

 Tip: The Stick is an excellent tool for self-massage.  Try rolling out before you go to bed!
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Ultra Marathon Training Tips

29 Dec

I agree with everything Paul James wrote on his blog about training tips.  Here is a quick synopsis of what he wrote:

Here are his top tips and experiences:

1. Get a plan and stick to it – Plan your training.

2. Running efficiency/ technique  – Chi running video.

3. Higher stride rate/ cadence – Chi running video.

4.  One intense workout per week – A 45min run at a faster pace than the other runs

5. Cross training – Add a tramp (hiking), spin class, bike some hills, or go for a swim a few times a week.

6. Stretching key muscle groups – hamstrings, calf, gluts, and hip flexors almost daily

7. Good posture – Chi running video.

8. Rest is important – You need a break so take a break.

9. Training plans are just a guide –  Train to your limits and listen to what your body is telling you.

10. Nutrition – It’s not rocket science and is simple to understand.

11. Sports massage – Flushing muscle waste helps recovery and growth.

12. Tapering – Enjoy the taper- it is the time where you can relax and mend.

13. Walking is ok 🙂 – Things might get a bit much…..so walk for a bit.

As you can see, there are some good tips here while training.  His full article can be seen here.  James has also posted videos to go along with his explanations.

What I like most about his tips is they are all easy to follow and no hocus pocus.  I also love the fact the he includes massage into his training regime. “Flushing muscle waste helps recovery and growth. A good deep tissue massage also acts like the ultimate stretch and gets to parts that solo stretching can’t get to. If it was not for trigger point and deep tissue massages I would not have overcome my ITB syndrome and then onto completing my training. I can’t recommend a good sports massage enough! Just remember that once you start you won’t be able to stop…it’s that good!”

The Stick is an excellent tool to manage ITB Syndrome as well as offering a deep massage.  The Stick is also awesome for flushing muscle waste!

Original Body Stick

 

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More Positive Comments About The Stick

10 Dec

Here are some more comments I found on a Runner’s World forum about The Stick.

The summary of the main question was:  What do you use for sore muscles!  The Stick? Active-Response-Therapy(self-massage)or do you get regular massages?

“Own and use the Stick often.  Have gotten about 5 massages in my lifetime but still a little weirded out about it.  Massage does work! ”

“All of the above! I’ve been getting ART (active release technique) done since February, try to get a sports massage once per month (my masseuse is also a runner) and have the stick.”

 “I used The Stick for the first time in a year yesterday! Plus a little self massage. It definitely helped my soreness. I get maybe 1-2 massages per year. I’d get more if it were in the budget. It seems I’ve finally kicked my piriformis issue and with my ankle feeling better I may be able to avoid the chiropractor for ART.”

“I use the stick, foam roll, massage… you name it. It blows my mind that I get injured when I’m so diligent about stretching and foam rolling after runs.”

“I use the foam roller 6-7 days a week and the Stick on occasion.  I have went to my sports massage therapist around 8 times in the past 6 months for trigger point therapy.  If it wasn’t $85/hour I would see her every other week because my legs feel GREAT walking out of the place.”

” I have and use the Stick, foam roller, frozen water bottles for ice massage, a couple ART sessions.  PT is just down the hall from me so I sneak in there when I need to and have them work on me if needed with ultrasound, ice massage, manipulation.”

“For sore muscles I do NSAIDS every once in a while after a tough run.  I have the stick and a foam roller, but haven’t used them since the hammie started quieting down.  Can’t justify massage while I’m unemployed.”

“I love massages but don’t get them often enough.”

“foam roller, the stick, stretching, pt exercises. I’ve done sport massage in the past which is very helpful, though painful at the time. ”

” I use the stick and a tennis ball. I love getting massages but I do feel a little weird about someone else working for my relaxation.”

“What don’t I do?!  use the stick regularly- on running and non-running days; foam roll daily; PT (deep tissue massage and then some) once a week; tennis ball self-massage daily; BF has learned how to give deep tissue massage/do myofascial release and lately that’s 1-3x/week.  Ice, TENS machine, stretching/yoga are regulars also.  Used to get ART but haven’t done that since July.  Wish I could get regular massages but $$ limits that.”

“I stick myself on a regular basis…when I ran on a regular basis. oh, and ice baths for hard runs or LR’s 15+, definitely.”

Summary:  The Stick is very popular with runners!!

Comments on Massage Products!

25 Oct

Here is an awesome and funny article written by Cathy on her blog fourwhite feet.  She uses very creative words for massage devices!!

Cathy and her dogs!

Cathy and her dogs!

Massage Gizmos

Of all the massage gizmos in my possession, more than I wish to enumerate here, there are two (maybe three) I would buy again.

First is the Theracane. I got one just before Tejas 500 and I think it contributed to my finishing in good shape. I usually get neck and shoulder pain after a few hours of riding. At other races Jen has leaned an elbow into my trapezius (trapezii ?) periodically. At Tejas I left the Theracane hanging near my food table. Between laps I’d grab it, inflict a few seconds of torture to my neck, traps, and rhomboids, and return to riding with significant relief.

(Another note on this subject: I noticed after about 30 hours of riding that I got a lot of neck/shoulder relief by moving my arms way back on my aero bars, so my wrists were practically resting on the pads. In other words, I was too stretched out on my bike. Not saying this is always the case, but you might try moving closer or farther away if you’re having neck/shoulder pain.)

So why did I wait so long to get a Theracane? I’ve known about them for years. Well, I have a stick; like go in the forest and pick up a stick, that approximates the same functionality so I didn’t think I needed one. I can say now, that besides being more portable, the Theracane is capable of more precision and generally works better than a stick.

Speaking of sticks, the other thigamajig I’d buy again is the Original Body Stick. Unfortunately you can’t find these laying around in the forest. The Body Stick offers a kinder, gentler neck massage than the Theracane. Not to say it can’t hurt like H-E-2*L if you’re sore. The Body Stick is simple, and portable, and you can use it standing up, or sitting down to massage neck, back, arms and legs.

Which brings me to all those other whatchamadoozies. It’s not that I don’t use them. Well, the ones that require another person really don’t get used, but I do use the other self-massage doohitchies. The problem is, 85% of the time it’s either not convenient, or I just don’t feel like rolling around on the floor. While body weight inflicted torture is unique and works well for some areas; i.e. piriformis, the strength and contortion required usually make the floor models less relaxing.

So what’s number (maybe) three you ask? Don’t get too excited. It’s the Travel Stick. Nice if you need a shorter version to fit in a smaller suitcase, but generally the length is not as good as the Original, and mine has had a funny plastic smell for years that makes it less pleasant to use.

I love Cath’s comments of not having to roll around on the floor and not having to use your body weight to get results.   The Stick is 100% controlled by the user!  You apply as much pressure as you like in any position.  If you are out my way in Alberta, Canada, you should look me up @ The Stick.ca.

How Speed Skaters Might Use “The Stick”

21 Sep

During the Edmonton Marathon, I met two high end speed skaters!  The first was a young up and comer who has been training at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Alberta.  Her family has been involved in speed skating for quite a number of years.  Her dad happens to be a coach as well.  They ended up picking up a Sprinter Stick.

This made sense to me because speed skaters have large, dense muscles.  The Sprinter Stick was the perfect stick for her because it is stiff and short enough to fit it into her training bag.

The other speed skater I met was Crystal Phillips.  If her name sounds familiar it is because she is competing against the very best in the world.  Crystal is a Canadian speed skater who is not only training for Canada, but she also has Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  I did not know that she was dealing with MS until I met her for coffee.  She is a remarkable young women.  Here is a little exert from an article written about her efforts with the MS Bike Tour a couple of years ago:

“After successfully organizing a team for the MS Bike Tour for the first time last year, Crystal Phillips is looking forward to making this year’s team an even bigger success. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis herself only a little over a year ago, the 21-year-old speed skater is determined to not let the disease get her down and hopes this Bike Tour, which is a two-day 180-km trip from Airdrie to Olds and back, will help build more awareness of MS and will help raise as much money as possible for MS research.”

To read the most up to date information on Crystal click the title – Canadian speed skaters support upcoming MS Bike Tour

Crystal is still team captain for her team called ‘Team Tazza’  for the MS Bike Tour. 

Interestingly enough, she stopped by my booth and said she uses The Stick all the time.  She told me she mainly uses it for warm-up.  Being that she is an amazing athlete, I assumed she would be using the Sprinter Stick as well.  I was wrong.

Crystal showed up the next day to compete in her race and she again stopped by my booth and showed her Travel Stick.  I was shocked to hear that she only uses the Travel Stick.  I though for sure she would be using a stiffer stick like the Sprinter Stick, Body Stick or even the Stiff Stick.  She explained to me that she and other speed skaters love to use the stick to warm-up and stimulate their muscles before they trained or raced.  So, the Travel Stick was perfect for the job.  She was not looking to do any deep soft tissue release because she would see a therapist for that. 

I think this makes a lot of sense for a person in her position.  She has access to physiotherapists and massage therapists, so she uses The Stick as a warm-up tool.  I suggested she she also use it as a cool-down tool and a tool for soft tissue work in between visits to her therapists.

Crystal is a great example of how speed skaters or other athletes can use The Stick

 Go Crystal Go.

 

I should also mention that Crystal is part of Clean Air Champions where their mission is to improve air quality by working with respected athletes to motivate and educate Canadians to adopt practices and lifestyles that enhance both environmental and personal health.

 

 

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