Massage Benefits In The Time Of COVID

By Heather Bishop

What a time we have lived through in the last 10 months! A global pandemic that has affected our lives, and our culture, in irreversible ways.

Extreme political division and civil unrest, repeated shutdowns of all non-essential services, and a life suddenly lived over zoom, email, and working from home–if you’re lucky enough to be working at all. Every day we are being asked to bear these burdens and more, which wear on our emotional and psychological resilience. At some point, I am sure almost every single one of us has had a moment of wanting to give up, or a moment of stress levels that feel completely unmanageable. Some words I’ve heard from friends to describe emotions experienced during these moments are: frustrated, worried, isolated, tired, and sad.

How much would you love to know there was something you could do that would lower your stress to pre-COVID levels, relax your muscles, soothe your tensions and boost your immune system? And as an extra bonus, it could also fulfill that deep human need for touch and connection, and provide an opportunity for your body to enter a state of deep relaxation and renewal. What if your doctor, naturopath, chiropractor or acupuncturist could prescribe this treatment for you, as part of your routine preventative health care?

Therapeutic massage can offer relief from a long list of medical symptoms and conditions, as well as provide an essential immune system boost, lowering of stress level, and reset for the nervous system. When massage is provided upon receipt of a doctor’s referral, it is an essential service and can become an integral part of your preventative health care practices, even during this time of COVID shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders.

But is it safe to receive massage right now, when COVID case numbers are rising and ICU beds are full? Unfortunately, nothing short of total isolation in our homes is safe right now; we assume COVID exposure risks every day. However, with that in mind, consider this question – would you visit your doctor right now, if you had a need to see them for an important health concern? What if you knew that visit to your doctor would be a pleasant and effective medicine, and that you would come out feeling relaxed, renewed, and realigned?

It is a time for us to think about risks and priorities. Staying safe and minimizing situations where we could be exposed to COVID is important and a top priority for everyone. However, rising stress or anxiety levels, coupled with social isolation and cabin fever, leaves the body depleted. Stress hormones compromise the immune system, making us more susceptible to any infection. Depression or anxiety further decrease our immunity and can leave us struggling to make it through each day. All of these symptoms are dangerous to our health and enjoyment of life. So I ask you to consider this – would boosting your immunity and mood be a priority to you as well? If you could get a massage in a setting where all COVID guidelines were followed: surfaces sanitized, masks worn, temperatures taken, thorough hand washing before and after your massage, plus two systems of air purification designed to block an airborne virus–it might be worth the very low exposure risk to give your body the boost it needs to keep going, with a renewal of strength and function.

Osmosis values the safety of clients and staff as the highest priority, and we follow all COVID guidelines set forth by the state and county. We also believe that massage IS an essential service, in this time of COVID, and we would love to share this gift with you.

All you have to do is reach out to your trusted doctor (this can include naturopath, chiropractor or acupuncturist, as well as MDs) and let them know you are ready to include massage in your preventative health care practices. Want to know more about how massage can benefit you? See the 25 reasons to get a massage below, have a look around on our website and check out our many massage blogs, or call our Guest Services department. We look forward to hearing from you!

25 Reasons to Get a Massage

  1. Relieve stress
  2. Relieve postoperative pain
  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

Click here to learn more on how to be referred from a medical professional for your next massage at Osmosis.

 

Experience Unique Healing In Our Japanese Gardens

“At a fundamental level, humans have an innate need to connect with nature. When we are in nature – particularly, in a Japanese garden – we feel grounded and our senses are alert. Our pace slows, our heart listens, and our eyes catch subtle moments, like the light shining through the canopy of trees. The mind and body harmonizes with nature, and this journey continues as you step deeper into the garden, where you might encounter unexpected aesthetic or spiritual experiences. In these times, and always, everyone needs a Japanese garden.” – Sadafumi Uchiyama, Chief Curator, Portland Japanese Garden

The Osmosis Spa, best known for the Japanese Enzyme Bath, is also recognized for its authentic Japanese gardens where visitors are invited to experience a healing relationship with nature. Our garden’s flowing waters, soothing evergreens, compelling rock arrangements, and mysterious pathways takes one far away from the familiar demands of daily life. And there are countless subtle fascinations and wonders throughout our garden sanctuary! Artfully pruned shapes that capture the essence of each plant, quiet spaces discovered in corners or reflective pathways, as well as rocks placed in esoteric patterns intended invoke profound stillness.

From the least to the greatest detail, our large Meditation Garden is most captivating.  Many visitors have discovered this jewel as a welcomed antidote to the pervasive stress of digital overload and the global health crisis. In addition, Osmosis recently streamed a powerful winter solstice ritual from this garden which was led by an inspired Siberian shaman, to the delight of colorful carp who formed endless patterns among the water lilies as she chanted songs of her ancestors.

Guests who receive services are invited to visit the garden and stay as long as they like, savoring the heightened sense of sensory awareness and inner peace that often follows Osmosis treatments. The impact from your bath, massage, or facial can be amplified many times over by entering this quiet sanctuary.

Click for details on planning your visit.

Learn more about the history, symbolism, and design of the renowned gardens in our beautiful book, “Osmosis Gardens.”

 

Our Indoor Air Technology Produces Healthier Air

As we prepare to reopen indoors, Osmosis would like to ensure our community of guests and staff understand the extensive measures we have taken to treat the inside air at Osmosis.

Breathe Easy

We installed a state-of-the-art air cleaning system in July, called Atmosair, at Osmosis. We feel it is imperative to do everything in our power to protect you and our guests. This system in combination with the 4-stage HEPA filters in every room provides a high level of hygienic indoor air quality.

The system we have installed in our HVAC equipment is called bipolar ionization. It energizes the air to form bipolar — positive and negative — air ions that flows into all of the spaces in our building.

AtmosAir’s technology proactively emits bi-polar ions that attack and neutralize bacteria, mold and virus in a continuous way. Unlike many unverified products, AtmosAir Solutions is backed by science. Bi-Polar Ions emitted to ambient air by the AtmosAir System continuously disinfect both the breathing space and surfaces. It is the most effective system for continuously cleaning and decontaminating indoor air. AtmosAir has shown significant reduction of bacteria and viruses in both laboratory and in situ testing. AtmosAir is over 99.9 percent effective in reducing the coronavirus on surfaces.

This excerpt from a paper written by Dr. Philip M. Tierno Jr., Professor of Microbiology and Pathology, New York University School of Medicine in April 2017 provides details on the air purification system that has been installed in the Osmosis HVAC system.

Cleaning Indoor Air using Bi-Polar Ionization Technology

Bipolar ionization is created when an alternating voltage source (AC) is applied to a special tube with two electrodes. When voltage is applied to the tubes electrodes (like electricity is applied to a light bulb’s filament) an ionization field is produced around the tube (just as light is produced from the light bulb). However, the ionization cannot be seen but its presence will result in “mountain air” freshness. Such ions occur naturally especially on mountain tops and waterfalls, where the production of both positive and negative ions purify the air.

The airflow distributes the energized ions into all spaces served by the duct system in an in-duct installation.

Unlike most air purification systems AtmosAir seeks out particulates and contaminants, including germs and does not wait for pollutants to find their way into the filter within the air handler. Instead charged ions go to the contaminants in the space where you breathe, just as in nature, and do so in a continuous fashion and with continuous disinfection.

These positively and negatively charged ions have an effect on dust particles, allergen VOC’s, odors, and bacteria, viruses, molds and mold spores. For example, regarding particles—oppositely charged ions cause particles to attract to other particles and become bigger and heavier, by a process called “agglomeration”. These bigger heavier particles can now be better trapped by HVAC system filters so the filters operate more efficiently. Also the many small particles that are generated within a space by people and their activities may never get to system filters and ordinarily stay suspended in air for long periods and can be breathed in, increasing the chance of illness and respiratory distress. The bi-polar ion process will drop these to the floor quickly taking them away from where we breathe. VOC’s or gaseous chemical off gasses typically cause odors and irritations. These are also a major source of “Sick Building Syndrome” complaints, where people feel ill at work but feel better when they leave the building. Bi-Polar ions break down hydrocarbon chains that make up these complex compounds into immeasurable levels of carbon dioxide and water vapor.

On micro-organisms like bacteria, virus and molds, bi-polar ions will interrupt the reproductive ability of these organisms so rather than colony forming units (cfu) increasing and spreading and expanding, they shrink away and lessen the chance of infection. The Effect of Bipolar Ionization generators on microorganisms: The negative and positive ions that are generated by BPI are designed to treat and allow energy imparted by the ions to transform ordinary oxygen into Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), Superoxides, Peroxides, and Hydroxyls. These ions have the property of clustering around micro-particles, and thus, they surround harmful substances such as airborne mold, viruses, bacteria and allergens. At that point, a chemical reaction occurs on the cell membrane surface, and they are transformed into OH radicals, which are powerfully active (Standard Oxidation Potential [V] = 2.81 for OH vs H2O2 = 1.78 and OO2 = 1.23) and because they are unstable, they rob the harmful substance of a hydrogen atom (H). The result is that they are inactivated by severing the protein on cell membrane, which causes the opening of holes, thusly destroying the entity. The OH radicals instantly bond with the removed hydrogen(H), forming water vapor (H2O) which returns to the air. It is most important to note that bipolar ionization kills microbes without damaging DNA (therefore it does not cause cancer) in the interior of cells and unlike other physical and chemical agents, such as UV light, radioactivity and use of caustic chemicals, BPI is totally GREEN and it does NOT adversely affect the environment in any way.

What’s New at Osmosis? T’ui Na

T'ui Na MassageThis active style of Meridian Massage releases deeply held tension. Combining rocking, compression, stretching and joint mobilization, T’ui Na clears blockages, revitalizes your energy, and opens the joints for great ease in movement. This massage leaves you feeling both relaxed and energized.

 

T’ui Na Origins

The Chinese have taught us that tension or pain in the body is the physical manifestation of blocked or stagnant Chi. Developed over 5,000 years ago in China, T’ui Na is an ancient form of Meridian massage, aimed at increasing the flow of Chi through the channels, clearing blocked energy, thus decreasing pain and increasing ease of movement.

Emphasis in this massage is on opening the joints, the “gateways” through which Chi can flow from one body area to another. T’ui Na is an active style of massage mobilizing your joints, stretching muscles and Meridians, and energizing your Chi flow.

To understand T’ui Na, you must first understand the premise on which this massage was developed.  The Chinese medical model understands the human being to have 3 aspects:

  1. The Yang aspect of one’s being, the physical body, which manifests as activity or movement in the world.
  2. The Yin aspect, the Chi or bioelectrical aspect of the body.
  3. The refined product of the Yin and Yang relationship, which is the mental and spiritual body.

In T’ui Na, all 3 aspects of a person’s being are addressed, nourishing health on every level.

Understanding Chi

To many Westerners, Chi may be a difficult concept to grasp. Because it is invisible, people often wonder what it is or if it even exists. Ancient China knew little about the science of electricity. Electromagnetic science has been a field of growing knowledge in the West, in recent decades. Both Eastern and Western practitioners of Chinese medicine and massage have recognized that this energy referred to as “Chi” is the same thing as what today’s science calls “bioelectricity.” Dr. Robert Becker has done important research in the field of bioelectricity. It is understood now that the human body is constructed of many different electrically conductive materials and that it forms a living electromagnetic field and circuit. The body’s bioelectrical energy, Chi, is not only responsible for maintaining life, but also for repairing it.  It is the healing force when tissues of the physical body are damaged or body systems are limited.

tuina massage

Many Healing Benefits of T’ui Na

The Chinese understand that Chi circulates throughout the body through 12 organ Meridians, each of which connect to a different organ system of the body. Through T’ui Na Massage, Chi or energy flow to the internal organs is increased helping to heal tissues that may be weak, strengthening our organ functioning.

T’ui Na takes massage from the level of relaxation to the next level: deepening  health and well being. T’ui Na recharges the batteries of life.

It not only clears tension, promoting ease in the body and life, it also builds Chi, bringing increased energy to the tissues and organ systems of the body.  And as the Chi body (Yin) nourishes the physical body (Yang), we begin to feel more balance between the Yin and Yang aspects of being. There is a sweet sense of well-being that emerges from this feeling of balance. This feeling of well-being penetrates the physical, emotional and spiritual realms. This is the deepest healing that any spa service can offer.


Raizelah Bayen, Spa Services Manager Osmosis Day SpaRaizelah Bayen is the Spa Services Manager at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary. She has 25 years in the field of massage, 15 years as a massage and yoga instructor, and is additionally certified in acupressure, herbology and aromatherapy. Her teaching specialties include Eastern Massage Modalities and Acupressure, Body Mechanics for Bodyworkers, and Integrative Wellness workshops, weaving herbs, aromatherapy, self-massage and yoga into a cohesive themed workshop, such as the one above.  If you are interested in hosting a workshop, please contact Raizelah at raizelah@osmosis.com. For more information, connect with Raizelah Bayen on LinkedIn.

Please contact raizelah@osmosis.com for information on upcoming trainings in T’ui Na, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Foot Reflexology, and Body Mechanics for Bodyworkers scheduled in Sebastopol, California.  Or book Raizelah for an on-site training in your massage school or spa in T’ui Na, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Foot Reflexology or Body Mechanics for Bodyworkers.

13 Therapeutic Benefits of Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage is one of the most common and effective massage therapy modalities.  A wonderful combination of light to firm gliding strokes, integrated with stretching and ranging of the joints, it is a process that promotes total relaxation and muscle tension release.

History of Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage was developed by Peter Henrik Ling (1776-1839), a  Swedish physician and athlete who combined Chinese medical massage techniques with sports medicine to create a technique for decreasing muscle soreness, increasing flexibility and promoting general health.  Strokes used in Swedish include long and gliding movements generally applied with an oil or cream as a lubricant, kneading, vibration, tapping and friction.  Massage therapists also incorporate stretching to elongate the musculature, and joint mobilization or open and soften the joints.

Research Shows Both Mental-Emotional and Physical Benefits of Swedish Massage

The effects and benefits of Swedish Massage have been well researched and documented with controlled studies.  Research performed by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine and International Journal of Neuroscience shows that 45-minute massage increases serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin that help to balance and elevate the mood.  Serotonin and dopamine are both neurotransmitters.  Lowered levels of either serotonin and dopamine have been linked with depression, anxiety and overall lethargy.  Increased levels,  as with massage, will bring about a feeling of emotional well-being and balance. Oxytocin, commonly referred to as the “cuddle hormone,” has been shown to release while cuddling, as well as while in massage.  While it is technically a hormone, it tends to act like a neurotransmitter making a sweet little neuropeptide that makes you feel warm and soft on the inside.  

A more recent study looked more at the physical benefits of massage.  This study was done with 400 adults who complained of moderate to severe low back pain, lasting 3 or more months. These adults were divided into 3 groups. The first group received a weekly full body massage. The second group received a more targeted massage that focused on specific muscles of the low back and hips. The final group did not receive massage, but instead were prescribed pain medication and muscle relaxants.  After 10 weeks, participants in both massage groups reported a greater average improvement in pain and functioning than those who received medication. The type of massage, either full-body or focused, yielded equally beneficial results.  At the end of the study, 36-39% of the massage recipients reported that the pain was nearly or completely gone, while in the medicated group only 4% reported that significant decrease in pain level. This bodes well for not only focused but also a full Swedish “relaxation” massage.

There are at least 13 Benefits of Swedish Massage!

 

  • Relaxation.  Swedish Massage both calms the nervous system and relaxes muscular tension.swedish Esalen massage
  • Reduces Stress.  Many of us live demanding lives, both overscheduled and over-worked.  Stress can manifest in the body with increased muscle tension and sometimes pain.  Stress can manifest in the mind with increased worry or anxiety. Swedish Massage helps to clear the body and mind of unwanted responses to stress.
  • Increase Flexibility.  Swedish Massage will elongate the muscles, open the joints and decrease swelling, all of which will ease movement and increase flexibility.
  • Improve Posture.  While postural imbalances have many sources, including overworked muscles due to repetitive strain, overcompensating muscles to ease stress on overworked muscles, prolonged sitting, or injury, Swedish Massage helps to ease the muscular holding that underlies postural imbalance.
  • Improve Blood Circulation. Massage dilates the blood vessels and widens the membrane pores in the body, improving your body’s ability to deliver fresh blood to muscles and organs.
  • Endorphin Release to Improve Mood.  Research shows increased serotonin and dopamine in massage recipients, improving their mood and feeling of emotional well-being.
  • Flush out Metabolic Byproducts.  As massage stimulates circulation, it flushes out lactic acid and uric acid that build up in muscles due to overuse.
  • Increase Range of Motion. Swedish Massage, incorporating stretching and range of motion techniques, will open and lubricate the joints for increased range and more fluid motion.
  • Support Healthy Immunity. Because Swedish Massage also encourages the flow of lymphatic fluid, it increases lymphocytes, immune cells that are produced in the lymph nodes.
  • Increase Nutrient Supply to Muscles.  By increasing circulation, Swedish Massage increases the blood supply and nutrients to the muscles.
  • Increases Energy.  Increased circulation also means more oxygen delivered through the body, resulting in a boost in energy.
  • Improve Sleep.  Studies show that getting a massage increases serotonin levels in the body, so you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
  • Relieve Headaches.  Many headaches or migraines are a result of stress and/or poor circulation. Swedish Massage relieves the stress associated with tension headaches and improves circulation.  

The significant benefits of Swedish Massage make it clear that a regular massage regimen is more than a luxury, but indeed an important ingredient in the cultivation of physical and emotional well-being.  Maybe you just want a “relaxation” massage.  But know, that in your relaxation, you are also taking care of both your body and mind in fundamental yet important ways.  

Are you ready to discover the benefits that a massage regimen could bring to you?  

Raizelah Bayen, Spa Services Manager Osmosis Day SpaRaizelah Bayen is a California Certified Massage Therapist, currently employed as the Spa Services Manager at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone, California.  She has been practicing massage for over 25 years, and teaching T’ui Na, Acupressure, Sports and Pregnancy Massage in massage certification programs for 15 years.  Raizelah is an approved CEU Instructor by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), offering trainings in Freestone, California and on-site training at your massage school or spa.  For more information, connect with Raizelah Bayen on LinkedIn.

Please contact raizelah@osmosis.com for information on upcoming trainings in T’ui Na, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Foot Reflexology, and Body Mechanics for Bodyworkers scheduled in Sebastopol, California.  Or book Raizelah for an on-site training in your massage school or spa in T’ui Na, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Foot Reflexology or Body Mechanics for Bodyworkers.