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"Good hurt" vs "Bad hurt"
Do massages have to hurt to be effective?

Have you been wondering if a massage has to hurt to be effective?
If so, you are not alone. Many people believe that a massage has to hurt in order to be effective. Well it doesn't! You'll be happy to hear that the saying, "No pain, no gain" doesn't apply to massage therapy. Sometimes the most effective massages are the ones that don't cause you any pain. Something that feels marvellous, and it's good for you too? It doesn't get much better than that!
Deep Tissue Massage might cause some discomfort...
A deep tissue massage is when a massage therapist manipulates the deeper layers of your soft tissue. Soft tissue includes your muscles, ligaments, fascia, and tendons (it's pretty much everything that isn't bones or organs). Usually the therapist will use lotions or oil, and will work lighter at first, this is important, it helps relax the top layer of tissue and muscle, meaning less pain for you. Then the deeper layers of muscle can be worked on more easily and with less pain. This will feel much better and you will get better results!
Typically, deep tissue massage is recommended for those with chronic pain caused by tight muscles or injuries. Deep tissue massage can be very therapeutic because it helps with relieving patterns of tension that have developed over time and helping with muscle injuries. With a good deep tissue session massage will feel more relaxed after the massage if no pain was endured during it. It's hard (nearly impossible) to relax if you are in pain, and muscle tension will release in a state of relaxation.
Deep tissue massage is not for everyone! You are not a wimp if you don't like it. It is one of the more involved and intense massage techniques. Some people simply like the feeling of more pressure, and a firm massage isn't always deep tissue. Just be sure to communicate with the therapist about what you prefer and need. Speak up!, I or whoever is your therapist will appreciate your feedback, happy clients are regular clients, and we want you to love your massage.
Pain versus Discomfort
Muscles naturally react to any sort of pain. When your muscles feel that your body is about to be injured the reflex to deflect the pain is stimulated. If a massage therapist is ever applying too much pressure, your muscles tighten together to naturally counterattack the force, and that is not a great way to relax. A massage is meant to relieve the tension of your muscles so if you feel as though I or whoever is your therapist is applying too much pressure for comfort, just ask to use less pressure. Seriously, we want you to.
Don't go into the massage thinking there won't be any discomfort at all though. Pain and discomfort are two different things. People usually describe discomfort as a "good hurt" - especially in reference to getting a massage. When you experience pain during a massage, it is more than discomfort and could even cause bruising or injury.
Everybody has different tolerances for pain, so a massage that is painful for one person may not be painful for you. If you find that your massage therapist isn't working between your tolerance levels for pain, then it's important that you say something. Massages should almost never cause you physical pain and very rarely is it okay for you to be left with marks on your body afterwards.
If you are booking your first massage, you probably don't want to start out with a deep tissue session. Ease your way into massage therapy and start with something less specific, like Swedish massage or come and experience the gentle sound massage with Tibetan Singing Bowls.

When you come to my studio, I will gladly combine different massage techniques and to give you a treatment that is the best for you and what you need.

Phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.

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How Often Should You Get a Massage?

Every day! Well, maybe that's not practical, even though it would be nice. This is one of the most common questions clients ask about massage therapy, and it really all depends on WHY you get massages. Do you get massages for health benefits? Or, to help you relax and handle the stress of everyday life? Most likely it's a combination of the two, so let's look at some of the most common reasons to get regular massages:

Relaxation & Stress Relief
One of the very best reasons to get a massage is for relaxation. Relaxation massage helps to support your body, including blood circulation and flexibility of joints. Regular massage can help prevent pain, muscle tension, and stress points from building up and causing problems. Why wait until you have a problem to get a massage? Massage is perfect for preventing issues with your tissues. Relaxation massage is usually recommended at least once per month, or as often as you want!
There may be times in your life where you experience higher levels of stress and more muscle tension than normal. It is especially important to practice good self-care during these times. When we "don't have time" for a massage, is usually when we need one the most. Make yourself a priority even during stressful times, your health is worth it.
If you are in a high-stress job or you work in an environment where you stay in a certain position for a long period of time (at a computer for example), you may begin to develop tight or "knotted" muscles. This will frequently occur in your shoulders, arms, and back. All of this increased muscle tension will make movement harder and can cause a great deal of pain. Regular massage can help to keep you loosened up and will help to prevent pain and stiffness.
Living with high levels of stress for a prolonged amount of time increases the risk of contracting heart disease and other diseases. It has been estimated that 75 - 90 percent of all visits to physicians are for stress related problems. The good news is, massage can help! Just knowing your massage is coming up in a few days can help to relieve stress, and a massage every 2-4 weeks will help with stress related tension.
Sports Recovery
Are you a weekend warrior, or do you just like to stay in shape? Either way, massage can help with sports performance and recovery. Many athletes and physically active people receive sports massage because it enhances their performance, prevents injury, and speeds up their muscles' recovery. Competitive sports can put a lot of stress on a person's muscles! Research shows that massage reduces inflammation and stimulates the growth of new mitochondria, the energy-producing units in the cells, after strenuous exercise. This means that massage can help relieve pain, build muscles and help with muscle recovery too! For these benefits it is recommended that you get a massage up to three times a week or at least three times a month.
Chronic Health Conditions
People with ongoing health issues often find massage very helpful to alleviate symptoms. Chronic health problems that greatly benefit from massage therapy include back pain, joint pain, and localized inflammation. If you get therapy for specific issues, the frequency of getting massage therapy varies with the type of condition you have and how severe it is. Relief from pain can usually be achieved with 2-4 massage sessions per month.
Pregnancy
Pregnant women can greatly benefit from massage therapy! Prenatal massage is popular among expectant mothers, who often experience a lot of aches and pains as their pregnancy progresses. Many women suffer from back pain, hip & sciatic pain, headaches, and tired legs & feet. But you don't have to. I am unfortunately not qualified in this dicipline (could not find enough woman to practise on :-) but a certified massage therapist can help to relieve those discomforts.
Going to your massage therapist once or twice a month can help with the symptoms caused by pregnancy, and it can even help you sleep better. Of course, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor and your massage therapist to ensure that you don't have any pregnancy related conditions that would contraindicate massage therapy for you. Most women experiencing a healthy pregnancy can and should enjoy regular massage sessions.

How often may I reserve a timeslot in my diary for you? Would love to hear from you on 082 792 8886 or book straight on my booking page.

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5 Facts You Should Know About Women's Health

Ok, I am no expert on woman's health, but I can help spread the word. I found these interesting insights that I wanted to share with you:

1. Women are more prone to certain health conditions than men.
Women are more likely to experience depression, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some conditions, like osteoporosis, are directly related to women's hormone fluctuations and smaller frames. Others, like fibromyalgia, are much more common in women, but scientists have yet to figure out why.
2. Women do not always experience the same symptoms as men with the same conditions.
While men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women, women are more likely to die of the same heart attack. The reasons may be related to the publicized symptoms: while everyone knows about chest pressure and pain down the left arm, these are symptoms typically experienced by men. Women may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or fatigue. Knowing the different ways conditions manifest in men and women can truly be a lifesaver.
3. Women have different risk factors than men.
Remember that bit about women being more susceptible to stroke? In addition to the risk factors shared with men, there are also many women-specific risks, including being pregnant, taking hormonal birth control pills, using hormone replacement therapy, and experiencing frequent migraines. Unfortunately, these additional risk factors don't always show up in educational materials.
4. Women and men sometimes react differently to drugs and other treatments.
Women wake up faster from anesthesia. Some drugs, like ibuprofen, seem to be more effective in men than women, while others like erythromycin (an antibiotic) work better in women. And of course there are medications typically prescribed for sex-specific issues that can interfere with each other. As an example, acetaminophen (AKA Tylenol) can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.
5. In spite of all this, women's and men's bodies are more similar than they are different.
We share 99% of our genetic material with every other person on the planet. We have the same basic structure, suffer from most of the same illnesses, and heal in the same way. A healthy diet, active lifestyle, adequate sleep, and positive attitude are beneficial to men and women alike. There are no studies showing whether massage therapy is better for any one subset of people than others. Maybe that research will be done in the future. In the meantime, if you'd like to know whether it works for you, there's only one way to find out!

Come experience your massage at Little Heaven Massages. Phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.

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25 REASONS TO GET A MASSAGE

Today I have 25 reasons why it might be a good idea to come and visit me at LHM :-)

  • 1 Relieve stress
  • 2 Boost immunity
  • 3 Reduce anxiety
  • 4 Manage low-back pain
  • 5 Help fibromyalgia pain
  • 6 Reduce muscle tension
  • 7 Enhance exercise performance
  • 8 Relieve tension headaches
  • 9 Sleep better
  • 10 Ease symptoms of depression
  • 11 Improve cardiovascular health
  • 12 Reduce pain of osteoarthritis
  • 13 Decrease stress in cancer patients
  • 14 Improve balance in older adults
  • 15 Decrease rheumatoid arthritis pain
  • 16 Temper effects of dementia
  • 17 Promote relaxation
  • 18 Lower blood pressure
  • 19 Decrease symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • 20 Help chronic neck pain
  • 21 Lower joint replacement pain
  • 22 Increase range of motion
  • 23 Decrease migraine frequency
  • 24 Improve quality of life in hospice care
  • 25 Reduce chemotherapy-related nausea
And here is a bonus reason: You will get a GREAT massage!
Come visit me at Little Heaven Massages. Phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.

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Create your own National Day of Relaxation

Busy-ness is the trend these days. People carry over-packed schedules like winning trophies. "I'm SO busy at work!" "How do you have time to do that? I'm too busy to read/watch TV/exercise/do anything fun." "I can't get monthly massages I have too much to DO!"

Too much "busy" could be making you tired, sick, and probably cranky.
When do you relax? RELAX. "Relaxation" is a word we hear often, but don't always know what it means. Here, I've compiled some options for you.
re-lax  verb  \ri-'laks\
  1. 1: the state of being free from tension or anxiety.
  2. 2: a way to rest and enjoy yourself
  3. 3: recreation or rest, especially after a period of work.
  4. 4: the loss of tension in a part of the body, especially in a muscle when it ceases to contract.
  5. 5: something that you do to stop feeling nervous, worried, etc.
More importantly, what does relaxation mean to you?
If you're not a "hot bath and good book" kind of person, you probably cringe at spa photos of people with stones piled on their backs. But here's the beauty: You can make your own definition of relaxation.
It's your job to figure out what you enjoy doing, what makes you smile, and what makes you feel like you are a hundred miles from work or home jobs?
Then, make time for that.
You have a schedule. Write in special time for a hobby, a nap, massage, your favourite show, a weekend getaway, a new class, ANY thing you enjoy can be relaxing. Why don't you create your own National Day of Relaxation. Here are some ideas:
  • - Spend part of the day alone.
  • - Spend part of the day with your family, doing ONLY fun stuff.
  • - Meditate
  • - Devote time to your hobby.
  • - Sleep in. Or get up extra early. Whichever excites you!
  • - Arrange for take-out or pre-cooked meals all day.
  • - Schedule a massage! (on my booking page)
If you've always wanted a day to "not leave the house" today's the day! Wake when you wish, eat when you're hungry, stay in your jammies and read a book.

Taking care of you is important. And, self-care puts you in a better frame of mind to take care of the people who depend on you. So find the thing that mellows you out, and make it happen!

Why not try a session on my massage bed for complete relaxation? Phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.

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9 Easy Ways to Be Kind to Humankind

Here is a list of 9 out-of-the-norm (and some normal) ways to reach out and be kind to your fellow humans.

Offer help
Randomly offer to help someone with a task. If you see someone bogged down with grocery sacks, offer to lighten their load. Chances are they'll wave you off with a "no, thanks," but no doubt the unexpected offer of help will be remembered.
Say thank you
Crazy isn't it? Two simple words can have a way of making someone's day. I recently heard a story about someone who manned a drive-thru window, she said the amount of people who acknowledged her presence was minimal. As long as they got what they wanted, they didn't even say a word or look her in the eye. A drive-thru window may seem like such a brief exchange, but it can still have an impact.
Be open to conversation
We all have busy schedules, things to do, and places to be. We stand in line at the bank, the grocery store, the Post Office. Each line is an opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone you don't know. Think about it; Every person you walk past is a chance to converse with someone who's had a very different journey.
Give the benefit of the doubt
If you live in an area that is prone to road rage, flipping people off, and flat out confrontation, this one might be difficult. Maybe they are going through something and maybe their not. Giving the benefit of the doubt can be a way to be kind to yourself, too, since it lets YOU off the hook from stressing about it.
Make extra soup
And share some with your neighbour. We all live behind our high fences and electric wires. Do you even know your neighbours?
Smile
Yep. Not much to it. A smile can go a long way.
Tell people you love them.
Even the difficult people. We all have reasons to not speak to someone who use to be close but has since drifted away. Maybe someone in our lives has changed so drastically we can't stand to be around them. Whatever the case, if you love them, say it. It might be cliché to go on about how life is short and blah blah, but you have no idea when speaking lovey words might no longer be an option. Say them.
Get them a massage
One of my favourite ways to be kind to humankind is massage. Surprised? Nah, didn't think so. I could list for days the benefits of a great massage, but no one has time for that. Giving a gift certificate (email me to order one) for massage is really sending two messages: 1. I care about you. And 2. You should care for yourself. And who doesn't love massage? (Ok, some people might not, so get them a gift certificate for a foot rub instead.)
Get a massage for yourself
You count. Be kind to yourself. ‘Nuff said.

Being kind to humankind doesn't have to be all big and flashy, unless you want it to be. If big and flashy is your thing – go for it. There are so many ways to be kind; volunteer, join community organizations, and, if you've got them - act on those big ideas!

And afterwards, come to Little Heaven Massages. Phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.

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10 Ways to Treat Yourself (That don't involve money or food)

It's not hard to think up great ways to treat yourself. We'd all love a spa day topped off with a meal prepared and served by someone else. Maybe a sitter for the night, so the little angels are asleep when we get home. Or just a morning where the cat doesn't wake you up by sitting on your windpipe. And sure, who wouldn't love to have an afternoon to him/herself with a packet of chips, and a cooldrink. But that's not particularly healthy.

So, for some realistic self care activities that aren't expensive, don't involve food, and will make you feel good about how you spent that time, try one (or two, or all) of these:

Meditate, the easy way
If you're the kind of person who can't sleep during the day, napping can be more like torture. But guided meditation is a whole other story. It gives your mind something (easy) to do so the rest of you can relax a bit. There are plenty of free guided meditations online. Try YouTube or this link to the Mindful Awareness Research Centre website. http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22
Walk and a picnic
Okay, this one involves food, or just a beverage. Pack a little bag with a snack and a drink and go for a walk. Doesn't need to be far, doesn't need to be fancy. Just get outside, find a rock or a tree or a bench, settle in and sip your beverage. Listen to the quiet, or people-watch. Even better, bring a little trash bag and pick up litter along your route. You've just added in a random act of kindness to your personal time.
Read a book
When was the last time you read for pleasure. Even if you can't get to your library (yes, they actually still exist), there are plenty of Free ebooks on Amazon. Or reread some of your favourite books from childhood if you have them hanging around.
Learn something
If you choose the topic right, learning is great self-care. Pick a topic for FUN. Don't feel like you need to learn something pertinent to your work or a current hobby. There are PLENTY of sources for free online classes.
Draw
Take out a piece of paper and draw something. Even if you don't have fancy pencils or crayons, you can play with shading and pressure and make something cool. There are also plenty of free colouring pages http://www.coloring-pages-adults.com you can download and print out.
Write a letter (this one will cost you the price of a stamp)
Remember letters? On real paper? It's becoming a lost art, which is kinda sad. it used to be so exciting to get a real letter in the mail. Not a bill, not an advertisement, but a real letter, with news, from someone you love. It was downright magical.
YouTube Karaoke
For nearly every song out there, there's a karaoke accompaniment on YouTube. Check out https://www.youtube.com/user/TheKARAOKEChannel Crank it up and let 'er rip. You're a stress-free superstar now.
Play cards
Get a kid and play Uno, or find an old deck of real cards and fall into a game of solitaire.
Foot bath
You can go nuts and find a whole bunch of fancy recipes on the internet, or just throw some Epsom salt into big bowl of warm water. Put your feet in and maybe scrub them a bit with a washcloth. Got a teabag? Throw it in. Got an essential oil you like? A few drops will do. It feels so good, the warmth is calming, and your feet will be all soft and good-smelling when you take 'em out.
When you're ready, dry them off and massage them with some lotion. Or coconut oil. Or olive oil. Whatever you have is just fine. Put some socks on to really make it last, and so you don't slip!
And when all else fails: Nap
Put your jammies on and take a nap. In your bed. Not all jammed up on the couch with the TV on. Close the shades in your bedroom and cuddle with a teddy bear or cushion for a proper sleep.

There. You don't have to spend money or fill your belly to feel great and treat yourself well!

And if you do want to spend some money to treat yourself, what better way than a massage at Little Heaven Massages. Phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.

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Body Image - Risk & Reward in Massage

Body image. Almost everybody has something about their body that they don't like. For many people it's a minor issue, no big deal. But some people have a major issue with their body image. It affects how they live and their happiness.

When I tell some people that I'm a massage therapist it can cause a strong reaction. They tell me, whether verbally or through their reaction and body language, that massage is not for them. Their body image is such an issue that they don't think anybody else can accept them.

The paradox here is that massage can really help with body image issues. In massage school we were all nervous about taking off most of our clothes and letting somebody else touch us. It didn't take long for us to discover that bodies are just bodies and become much more comfortable with our own. We also experienced how good receiving a massage made us feel. Something unexpected happened - when our bodies felt better we felt better about our bodies.

I think there are three options to consider. Let's look at the risk versus reward for them.

1. Don't get a massage.
This is the easiest because it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all.
The reward is zero. You didn't get a massage so your body doesn't feel any better, and you still have the stress you had before.
2. You get a massage, but the massage therapist treats you with disrespect because of how you look, as if it matters.
If this has happened to you, I'm sorry. You got a crappy massage therapist. That's a bummer, and I'm really sorry. You took a risk, and even if the rest of the massage was decent, got very little reward.
This is not going to happen if you come to me. Never. No way. I can't say this strongly enough. It goes against the very nature of who I am, how I treat people, and what I believe.
3. You get a massage. A great massage. And the therapist is professional and does nothing to make you feel uncomfortable about your body. In fact, you feel pretty good about your body after the massage.
In this option your risk is low. I don't care how your body looks. That's none of my business. I just want to help it feel better. Your reward is high. Again your body will feel better from the massage and you can start feeling better about it.

I have no idea how your body got to be in the condition that it's in. You may be dealing with something that you can't control, such as a medical condition or an injury or accident. You may be in a lot of pain or are limited in what you can do physically. Since I don't know what caused your body to be like it is now I can't make any judgments about you.

I've worked on a lot of people - male and female, tall and short, thin and voluptuous. Each body is interesting and I've yet to come across one that I could not help. If you have been avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, let's find an option that works for you. You don't even have to explain anything to me. Stay sitting up or face down or lying on your side or however you want. It's up to you. And please do not be reluctant just because I am a man either. I am here to help you. I am a therapist with your health and well-being in mind - nothing else. In fact, there are a number of advantages to being massaged by a male therapist. We just naturally have bigger hands and more strength and I promise and pledge that I treat everybody and every body with respect. It is my job to help you feel better. That's it. Together let's find a way to help you relieve your pain and stress. Don't let your body image keep you from feeling good.

See you at your next appointment at Little Heaven Massages! Phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.

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Compliment your mirror (That's YOU!)

That's right, your mirror reflects how beautiful you are!
Acknowledge your beauty, at least for one day.

Try these simple tips to take steps toward accepting yourself and celebrate a Compliment Your Mirror Day.

Look at yourself
Every time you walk past a mirror, take a moment to look at yourself. Really look at yourself - without judgement.
Focus on the positive
What is your favourite part of your body? What part of your personality makes you happy? Focus on your strengths.
Wear your favourite colour
Whether it's a swimsuit or shade of lipstick, wear a colour that makes you feel alive, comfortable in your skin, and makes you shine.
Buy or repaint your vanity
Having a special place designated just for you, complete with pretty décor (or an inspirational quote that speaks to your personality), will give you space to reconnect with yourself, especially if you're toting a full schedule.
Take a time out
Show some self love by scheduling a massage (phone me on 082 792 8886). You'll appreciate how great you feel after.

See? One day is not so hard, right? What would it look like - how would you feel about yourself - if you tried one or two of these simple acts every day?

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5 Tips for Neck and Shoulder Care Between Massage Appointments

People with neck and shoulder issues often have their pain return before their next massage appointment. Work, play and children all make demands on the body. A dull ache can quickly turn into a burning pain especially while folding laundry, doing garden work, playing on the computer or any of the other million things you do.
What can you do between professional massage appointments to take the edge off neck and shoulder pain? Here are some ideas.

Take a Break
Take short breaks as often as you can if you sit at a computer all day. Move your shoulders around and s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Ideally you can get up and move around a bit. But even if you're chained to the desk, you can rock out a little Deskercise to stay loose.
Get the kids into it
Have a short yoga break together! There are plenty of videos made especially for kids, and the moves are just as beneficial for adults. Bonus: got a little one averse to naptime? Try the lying-down postures here and maybe you'll get a short break.
Heat it
Just 10-15 minutes of heat on your shoulders can make a huge difference in how your tissue moves and feels. You don't need a fancy heating pad, you can DIY that.
Self-massage
Try it, you might be surprised how much it helps! It's not complicated, just grab a tennis ball or a red rubber ball and check out these techniques.
Choose the right pillow
You spend about a third of your time in bed, be sure it's cozy for your neck. Side-sleepers have different needs than belly-sleepers. The right pillow at night can help you all day.

A few minutes of self care every day, little changes, can make a huge difference in how you feel. See you at your next appointment at Little Heaven Massages! Phone me now on 082 792 8886 or go straight to my booking page.

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