Aromatherapy benefits, uses, and caution

Essential oils are important because of the benefits they provide. Many of these oils can be a antimicrobial, analgesic, stress-reliever, sleep inducer, and to even help relieve serious conditions such as shingles or poison ivy.

Essential oil blend made by Natural Options Aromatherapy

Some oils can be used for alertness, backache, and to aid in balance.

Stop, do you have pets?

Indeed, a lot of these awesome oils are great for humans, but we have to think about our furry friends. Diffusing many of these oils can be harmful to furrpets, but lavendar oil is typically safe for doggos and cats. Something in the furrbaby’s system doesn’t process some oils like humans can, creating reason for caution.

Another note of caution is to avoid use of most oils, including lavender, during pregnancy. The only recommended oil for use during pregnancy is ginger, and that is only by inhalation.

Citrus oils can cause irritation with females during a bath, so don’t use more than 5-6 drops. Some citrus oils, namely grapefruit, can interfere with anti-depressant medications. Grapefruit can cause the medication to be less effective. Learn about the oils you are in contact with before use. 👍

Moreover, lemon oil is one of the natural antibacterials. It can increase the ability to concentrate. You may also put 3-4 drops of lemon oil on a plantar wart or a boil, and it will help to rid this. Tea tree oil has similar properties, and is also an antifungal and antiviral. Tea tree can help stimulate immunity. Frankincense is known for assiting in slowing breath for meditation. It can help with respiratory infections, depression and stress. It can also be used as an immunostimulant.

Essential oils – use with caution. Please look into the oils before use.

Peppermint in combination with calamine lotion works well to help poison ivy. Eczema can be treated quite well with use of essential oils. Remember, you always want to dilute the essential oils with a carrier oil. Carrier oils are almond oil, jojoba oil, and sunflower seed oil works really well. If you don’t dilute the oil with a carrier, it could bring some skin irritaion and even cause too much of the oil to be absorbed into the system.

For eczema, you can use a combination of lavendar, rosemary, and juniper mixed with sunflower seed oil used as the carrier.

Shingles can be helped by essential oils too if nothing else is doing the job. For shingles treatment with oils: blend 5 drops bergamot, 5 drops tea tree, 3 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops ravensara, and 2 drops of basil mixed with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. If the pain persists after the blisters are gone, use a formula of 5 drops bergamot, 5 drops lavender, and 2 drops of roman chamomile with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil or cream.

Roman chamomile is so good to naturally aid with insomnia. Lavender goes really well in combination with it, as does sandalwood oil.

These are just natural suggestions, and shouldn’t take place of medical help or insight when needed.

Watch “Prenatal Massage Techniques – Relieving Pregnancy Pains” on YouTube

Prenatal and massage

Many women wonder about receiving massage therapy during pregnancy. This can be really beneficial to an expecting mother. Because the mother is preparing so much for the newborn while hosting a bodily home for the little one, it’s especially important to take care of herself.        

Massage therapy is another way to receive nourishment during this possibly challenging time. Massage therapy cannot take place, however, until after the first trimester of pregnancy.         

Many expecting mothers experience back pain, shoulder tension, sciatica or piriformis syndrome, or foot pain. This list varies depending on the individual. The pain that is sometimes experienced during pregnancy can make sense. The lower back has extra strain from the growing little one. The shoulders can hold tension from the added stress.

Because of the low back strain, this tension can travel and reside in the glute (rear) muscles causing scaitca or piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndorme, or sciatica is a fancy way of saying that the piriformis muscle is too tight, bound with a trigger point or more. This causes the sciatica pain. Sound like a temporary situation? This depends on if the situation is coming from the description above or the nerve root. During pregnancy, the muscles get tighter, explaining the situation. Sometimes, the cause of the sciatica is from the nerve root. This is usually diagnosed by a doctor and cannot be helped by massage therapy. Massage can help with sciatic pain that is caused by tight glute muscles.

Foot pain is the lastly stated possible pain experience. Deep or even moderate work on the foot during pregnancy is not recommended with massage therapy. There are several reflexology points on the foot and hands. Pressing and treating the points on the foot can cause labor, and even massage the low legs and ankles is not recommended.    

Typically, because the client is at least past their first trimester, the side-lying posotion is best. Sometimes the mother can lay on her back with support under the head and neck, but for a short period of time at most. This massage therapy treatment is geared around nourishment and relaxation for the mother. Sometimes the pain or sore spots can be treated, but there are limits.


Two common and MISTAKEN diagnoses involving the arm and hand

This is just a little summary from a book that I’m reading, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, written by Clair Davies and Amber Davies.

Two common but unfortunately mistaken diagnoses concerning the arm and hand are carpal tunnel syndrome and lateral epicondylitis- a.k.a. tennis elbow.

Often, the cause of pain in your arms and hands is due to trigger points in the scalenes (neck muscles), brachialis, and muscles of the forearm. When worse pain is experienced, all the muscles of the neck, upper back, shoulder, arm, and hand may be involved and require therapeutic attention by use of trigger point therapy. Carpal tunnel syndrome is experienced when the passageway through which nerves and tendons passing through the wrist are restricted. These restrictions can be due to swelling of the muscles or other restrictions, such as impingement in the thoracic outlet. When the nerve that travels through the thoracic outlet is impinged, one may have carpal tunnel symptoms. The nerve and blood vessels pass behind the collarbone and go up and down the arm. When impinged, the return of blood and lymph flow is impeded, and can cause swelling. This causes carpal tunnel symptoms, and surgery for this may be recommended. The surgery may help somewhat, but it doesn’t help the real cause which is in the thoracic outlet.

When trigger points are present, the thoracic outlet’s size is smaller due to shortened scalene (neck) muscles.  Often the problem of tingling or numbness in the hands and feet is merely named “peripheral neuropathy”. This doesn’t help the problem. The root cause of pain is pressure on the nerves that pass between the collarbone and first rib, often a side-effect of having tight scalenes. Other muscles such as the pectoralis minor, triceps, brachialis, and a select few of the forearm muscles can also cause compression of the forearm.

Tightness in muscles that cause problems such as these are usually caused by trigger points that are located throughout the muscle. They are extremely common tender points and are the sources of pain and they cause the muscle to even shorten, causing a variety of issues and making the problem worse over time.

I’ve read that the root of most problems involving the neck, arms, and hands is tightness of the scalene muscles. It’s wise to check these for trigger points first. Often, the scalenes may hold trigger points that can cause secondary trigger points in the chest, shoulder, and down rhe arm, not helping the situation.

The diagnoses of tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, may be the wrong one unless you have suffered from an obvious physical injury. The diagnoses has reviews of having suffered microscopic tears by overuse or injury. In my research and reads by Davieses, I have dicovered that they are in agreement with Travell and Simmons and think that trigger point in the forearm cause pain and weakness in the elbow. Other muscles can contribute to this pain. When trigger point massage helps this situation, the tendinitis can simply be ruled out. (1999, 736)

When it’s apparent that trigger points exist, rest isn’t the best therapy. It may put the trigger points into a latent state, not ridding one of them. When the original activity and pain are resumed, they’re not gone. Inactivity such as rest may cause stiffness in the forearm muscles, perpetuating the trigger points and therefore pain.

If one tries to stretch the pain away , without first treating the sole problem that trigger points cause, the situation can be just as bad. A stretch for a weakened elbow is ineffective because the present and active trigger points are trying to protect the muscle from more abuse. Once the trigger points are treated, stretches are possible again.

Inner elbow pain, golfer’s elbow, is caused by trigger points in a different set of muscles. It’s a less common condition than tennis elbow. Golfer’s elbow can be caused by golfing, but is more commonly caused by overexcercise, workplace abuse, etc. When troubleshooting these problems, be thorough and mindful of these two sets of muscles.

There is a trigger point therapy guide presented in this book, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. This is something that can be referred to when treating their own muscles. Please keep in mind of the way that you’re massaging youself and arms, as you don’t want to stress the muscles out even more.                        When massaging your arms, one wants to avoid using one’s fingers working in opposition with the thumbs.

Picture taken from the workbook

When you give support to your fingers and thumbs with the opposite hand, you are working in a safer manner for your arms and hands. Having short nails will help to massage in a more relaxed way.  With the help of a tennis or lacrosse ball against the wall, you can treat the trigger points on your own. The ball isn’t as sensitive as one’s fingers, but it remains a useful tool however.

Picture taken from workbook

The knobble can be used to apply pressure to the thick forearm muscles. The use of a knobble should be applied with the force coming from the shoulder and held loosely with the hand. Use the knobble through a layer of cloth instead of on bare skin.

Picture taken from workbook

Here’s a few examples from the workbook concerning working on your own forearms…

Picture taken from workbook
Picture taken from workbook

If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel or tennis elbow or know someone who has, this therapy can help. It’s not a cure all, and I recommend going to the physician when it’s necessary. But, pain is not convenient for anyone, and I hope that this information can empower anyone suffering from trigger points. Many a times, that’s where the pain is coming from. Eliminate it!!!

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief

Check out this book on Goodreads: The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief

This book is designed to help any lay person treat their chronic pain. Could be anywhere form mild to severe pain. … This book is my go-to. As a massage therapist, I’d recommend it to my clients or anyone. I would even recommend this to any practicing therapist. Easy to read, you learn a lot and good information.

Frankincense benefits and uses, spirituality, and reiki vibes

Ever wonder if there was anything that you could use to clear the air? But more than that, you can use frankincense essential oil for this purpose and / or while blessing a house. You want the oil to be natural and not mixed with anything else, besides water if you choose to make holy water, or something like it.

It’s been growing on my awareness to take better care of myself and my home and surroundings. Sage is good to use as well.. I have heard that bay leaves are good to burn and it brings positivity.

Being a massage therapist and a progressive reiki healer, I have curious and many thoughts about self-care, spirituality, and cleansing. It has come to my awareness that the above three things go hand in hand with positivity. Life can be complicated enough. Ridding negativity can only help.

Are you wondering what reiki is. ?

Reiki is actually a Japanese term. Reiki originated from Japan, and is a life force energy that can flow through people too. It’s purpose is to eliminate negative energy that which doesn’t belong and bring love and light into our being,world, and hearts. The energy radiates from mother Earth, especially when initiated by the person. Anyone can be open to this channeling, and usually the different symbols that are used to enhance the energy are spiritually put into a person’s hands, by the reiki master. This is when a person is learning reiki during what’s called a reiki attunement. I am attuned to reiki 1&2. There’s also advanced and then master. I’d like to be a reiki master in time.

Reiki can help clear homes, objects, people, and even animals of negativity. The whole point of it is to heal, spiritually and/or physically. Animals, especially our home cats and dogs are magnets for energy, even negative energy. That’s why it can be important to cleanse them too and it explains why you can feel so much better from a cuddle with a furrpet.

The reiki consists of praying for the help from angels, god, and for the white brilliant and healing light of mother Earth. I say god because it’s how I relate to the reiki, although I believe that it’s not based on ANY religion. But if you’re praying for an Angel’s help, I assume that God can be nearby. 😁

Love, light, and compassion sent your way. Whatever ailment you may have, may it be extinguished and replaced with comfort, peace, and guidance.

Why I love my career choice. Struggles and mastery: lmt body mechanics

My career has been a journey, but a good one to say the least. I’m glad that I can earn an income by doing what I love. Too many out there either don’t like their jobs, or feel as though they’re merely existing within the corporation.

I’m so grateful. I’m grateful for the facility that i have the honor to work at. I’m grateful for the mentors, caring friends and co workers, and the wonderful clients that are in my presence at work.

My first year as a massage therapist was telling but it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. I attended an accredited school, this is another thing that I’m grateful for. But for me, I didn’t learn the body mechanics on how to massage clients overnight. Sure, the teachers went over this in school. We as students knew that this was an important detail that would get us far in the career. But, it was hard to grasp certain aspects of the body mechanics. As I grew in my career, I found out that….. I was not alone in this dilema.

The more I talked to co workers and new students, the more I discovered that 80% of people that I talked to had the same problem. That lead me to share anything with them that I learned about body mechanics.

One reason that I chose this career is becuase I hate to see others in physical pain. If there’s anything that I can do to help, you bet I’m going to honestly try. I haven’t got all of the body mechanics perfect,.. (Who does ), but I leave work at the end of the day with minimal pain compared to my new days as a massage therapist. If there’s anything that I can say regarding this, it’s this: “1. Don’t give up. If it’s what you love, decide that you will improve your struggles. 2. Get help, you’re not alone in the confusion. 3. Make an effort to learn basic yoga. This will help you fix any pain of your own, and the poses bring more awareness to your postures.”

Learning massage therapy is. Fun. Once you get the body mechanics down, it’s an enjoyable and rewarding career. But be careful and mindful of your own pain and longevity in the career. I once reached out to an old mentor about the issue. My hands would go out on me during some massages and hindered it and the pressure being executed. It turned out that I was way ahead of the stroke and not in sync with the movement of the massage. Nevermind my hips at that moment, the hands were my main concern. Truth was, help was needed about that too.

My mentor noticed how I executed a stroke, and she said that i needed to get behind the movement. She noted how I was standing right by the leg for instance. Like where the stroke would start, instead of standing behind of it and pushing from that angle. That really helped. Also a co worker mentioned to not bend your elbows too much. You don’t want them locked straight, but you do want to stack your joints. I have also heard that performing a massage with elbows bent, can cause arthritis. How true that claim is, I am unsure and am still working on this all.

Another piece of advice that concerns low back and hip pain from massaging incorrectly… I’m going to tell you what TO do. Do conduct yourself in a comfortable archer position. Not all, but a lot of the massage uses it. Toy with it and make the stance yours. Do breathe, have your hips facing more towards the table than staight ahead. I know that I was confused about which way was “neutral” for your hips to be situated in. Here lately, I have been thinking to have my hips face the opposite forward corner of the table. (if you need clarification about this, shoot me a message) FEET. Feet are grounded and by this I mean that you feel the floor underneath your feet, you move by pushing off of the floor, you feel the muscles in your feet and are aware of the support and sway that they give you. Dance! Get a rhythm… This will probably help alignment and pressure. Do have your shoulders down… And back.. This will help that back be straight . Once this happens, your hips fall into alignment too.

If I had one big don’t tip: when you are at work, don’t. Be . too. Serious!! This will help you become lighthearted with the execution of the massage and deliver a bit more grace. The most important thing to remember is… Are you taking care of yourself?

Well I hope that this bit of information and insight can help others who need it. I’m always a comment, email, or message away.

Sciatica syndrome & pain

If you have learned that you have sciatica, or have pain from it, you’re not alone. This is an especially uncomfortable pain that can arise. Sometimes it’s seen during and/ or after pregnancy, after injuries occur, or it just relates to disc problems.  These are only a few causes of sciatica.

If you’ve been diagnosed with sciatica, you will have been informed that it’s one of the main spinal nerves that becomes impinged. This nerve runs underneath some of the glute muscles, and down the leg. This makes for an especially painful situation if you have this condition.

One other way that the nerve can become compressed is the muscle near the glutes, namely the piriformis, is tight. By releasing the tightness of this piriformis muscle, it can greatly reduce the sciatica syndrome. Only when the sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis can this be relieved with massage therapy. The other way that is the cause of sciatic pain is from the nerve root, and can’t be alleviated by massage. This is an important difference to know, especially if you are a massage therapist attempting to help a client. Working from a muscle releasing perspective when it’s indeed the nerve root can aggravate things. That’s why it is always good to ask the client.

There is a simple way of testing this for yourself to see if the sciatica pain that you maybe feeling is coming from the nerve root. This test is called the straight leg raise. If you find that your foot and low leg are in pain, have someone raise your leg and typically you can raise your leg most of the way, about 70 – 80°. If you have pain about 30 or 40° when you have someone raise the leg, it’s probably sciatica coming from the nerve root. If you can raise your leg most of the way, though, the pain can be deduced to tight hamstrings. Also, you can lay flat and bring your chin to your chest. You should be able to do this pain-free. If you cannot and it really causes discomfort, it’s likely to be sciatica that’s originating from the nerve root.

There’s a couple of other things that can certainly feel a lot like sciatica. Low back pain, continued into the gluetes and posterior knee can feel like this pain. When trigger points are present, the pain experienced can be sharp and quite uncomfortable. Any trigger points that live in the glutes can attribute to low back pain.

I hope that who ever is reading this finds this helpful, whether you have experienced or are experiencing this situation, or know someone that has. If it’s informative and you learned something about this condition that you didn’t know, or if it has given some insight, please leave a comment! Let me know about your journey and if there’s anything that I can help you with. Peace, love, and care to you all.

To pamper or to reduce pain?

What is self care? Does it always involve pedicures.. Bubble baths… Even a meditation practice? Getting a massage? One can debate on if these activities are purely pampering or actually good for you.

The answer, my opinionated but experienced answer, is yes! All of the above activities, are considered self-care to me. Even if it’s to paint your toe nails…bathe in lavender or whatever floats your boat.. Some may say argue that self care is not all about “bubble baths” or.. “Lighting candles”. I say, “Heck with what others say.” Pampering yourslef ignites something in everyone that when practiced can perpetuate into healthy habits and such.

I know, as a massage therapist, I can talk about self-care all day.. When does practicing what I preach come into play? It’s pertinent to do. Even after my routine doctor visit today, I’m encouraged and inspired to do all of these things and more.

In a life where self-care can get put on the back burner.. I encourage you to take moments for yourself. Whether it’s for physical or mental health. Practice self-care. Reach inward, and start to focus on something inside of you that can use some nourishment. We all need this.

Misconceptions of massage therapy

What is the current and first thought that comes in your mind when you hear massage therapy? Is the thought hot stones, lavender, sensualness, chiropractors, or just a table? What do the words mean to you?

As I got my car towed a while back, the towman introduced himself and I, me. He took me and my car to the auto mechanic. He asked what I did for a living. I responded with the answer, massawordsherapist. All he said to that was that one place in TN got closed that he heard of. He gave the impression that he was unsure of the implications of that place. I said, “Yes, that place may not have been in the right practice but the laws are there to keep people safe and so that massage therapists can practice professionally. Also, some people think that massage therapy is something that it’s not, because of the examples that seldom places give.

It’s sad that I have to take up for my career. Misconceptions are that massage therapy is sensual somehow. That is not what it’s intended for, in the least bit. It pretty much goes hand in hand with chiropractors. It’s for relaxation but more than that, it’s for pain management and self-care.

Even my god children made a comment about the subject. They said that they wouldn’t want to be a massage therapist because it’s weird, especially if you’re a married therapist, which is what I am. They are 11 and 13 years old, and just said that it’s weird because the client isn’t dressed. I explained that the client is underneath a sheet and even a blanket, and that the client is draped with the sheet at all times. But from their perspective, that’s what they thought. I told them that massage therapy is to help with pain, exclusively back pain. I say that because it’s what we as massage therapists see the most.

I hope to clear up any misconceptions or concerns about massage therapy. There are laws in place to protect the public, and the purpose of it is to reduce pain and promote well-being.