Posts Tagged ‘raizelah bayen’

The Power of Touch

 therapeutic touchWhile massage is becoming more recognized for its therapeutic benefits, any kind of touch including a simple handshake, congratulatory pat on the back, or a warm-hearted hug has the power to transform you both physically and emotionally. Touch triggers the hypothalamus to produce oxytocin, both released into the bloodstream and stored in the brain. This hormone has a range of physiological functions, including reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, increasing pain tolerance and boosting your mood. There have been a range of studies, each with a different population including infants, cancer patients, mental health patients, the elderly, and pregnant women, all of which point to the same conclusion:

Touch not only makes you feel better, it is vital to our emotional and physical health.  

Science-Based Benefits of Touch

Edmond Ross found that physical touch activates the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex, linked to feelings of reward and compassion. His studies show that simple touch triggers the release of oxytocin, known as the “love hormone.” This fosters greater trust between individuals and builds stronger teams of people working together. Touch is the foundation for connection and community.

Mothers touch

Studies at the Touch Research Institute found that prenatal massage lowers stress hormones and increases serotonin and dopamine, in pregnant women, reducing the incidence of intra-uterine artery resistance, making it easier to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the baby. This means less premature deliveries, and with healthier birth weights. The women in this study also experienced shorter delivery times, and with fewer complications.

Infants and Touch

And how does loving touch affect the babies? A study carried out by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Children’s Hospital measured the brain responses of 125 infants and showed that a baby’s earliest experiences of touch have lasting effects on the way the young brains respond to gentle touch. Preemies that spent more time in gentle contact with their parents and healthcare providers, had a stronger brain response to touch than those who were in incubators.  Preterm babies who receive positive supportive touch, such as skin-to-skin care by parents, have brain response to touch similar to those babies who experienced an entire pregnancy inside mother’s womb.

Dr. Ruth Feldman carried out a 10-year study which shows the lifetime impacts of physical contact with preterm babies. “In this decade-long study, we showed for the first time that providing maternal-newborn skin-to-skin contact to premature infants in the neonatal period improves children’s functioning 10 years later…” said Dr. Feldman. Compared against standard incubator care, the baby held skin-to-skin against the chest of an adult, showed better cognitive and executive skills in repeated testing from 6 months to 10 years of age, such as more regular sleep patterns, better neuroendocrine response to stress, a mature functioning of the nervous system, and better overall cognitive performance.

touch of massage at Osmosis

Hospice Patients and Touch

Kutner’s research on the effects of touch on 380 hospice patients, half of which received regularly scheduled massage and half of which received a simple untrained touch from hospice volunteers, gave us evidence that while massage is extremely beneficial, untrained touch is also helpful. Both the patients who received massage and those who received untrained touch all reported decrease in pain, and elevated mood and quality of life. The patients who received massage reported those results more immediately than those who received untrained touch, showing us that all is helpful.

Dr. Tiffany Field, Director of Research at the University of Miami Medical School says,”Moderate pressure massage has a huge variety of benefits because it stimulates the vagus nerve, which has branches all over your body, so for example, it slows the heart rate and relaxes your nervous system.” This is huge. The vagus nerve interfaces with our parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs and digestive tract, so can lower blood pressure and reduce digestive or respiratory stress.

Mental Health and Touch

Several studies show that touch therapy can be helpful to people who suffer from mental health issues such as eating disorders, anxiety or depression, or physical pain. Why? Massage can reduce levels of stress hormones like cortisol while simultaneously increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that fights depression and pain. Serotonin is a natural way to reduce physical discomfort and uplift the mood.

Six Facts Why Simple Touch or Professional Massage will Benefit your Well-Being:

  • Neuroscientists now know that physical touch is processed by the reward center in the central nervous system, and is thus vital to your emotional health.
  • Psychologists explain that simple touch stimulates receptors under the skin that lower cortisol levels, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.
  • The Thymus gland, which regulates your body’s production of white blood cells, strengthening the body’s immune system and helping to maintain optimal health is stimulated through touch.
  • The Hippocampus, an area of the brain that is central to memory, is also stimulated.
  • Touch can, of course, rub away tension, and when administered by a trained massage therapist, can increase the range of motion and circulation while reducing pain or spasm.
  • Finally, all touch including professional massage releases endorphins in the body to reduce pain and elevate mood.

Healing touch has become a widely respected way to prevent and ease health issues. Doctors of all kinds recommend massage to their patients to ease both emotional and physical symptoms of dis-ease.

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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 training 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 training 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.

Foot Reflexology: Not Just a Foot Massage

Many people believe that a Foot Reflexology session is just a relaxing foot massage.  While Foot Reflexology is indeed relaxing, it has many other benefits.  

There are ten reflex zones on the foot each corresponding to a different body area.  There are additional specific reflex points that correspond to internal organs, glands, and sense organs.  For example, in the center of the pad of the big toe there is a reflex point that corresponds to the pituitary gland; on the ball of the left big toe is a reflex point to the heart, and on the ball of pinky is a reflex zone to the shoulder.  There are over 50 reflex points such as these on the feet.  When these reflexology points are stimulated with specific massage techniques, the body’s natural healing abilities are stimulated.  Pain is reduced; organ function improves, and in some cases, diseases are resolved.  While massage therapists who perform Foot Reflexology are not medical practitioners with the training to either diagnose or treat, the practice of Foot Reflexology over recent decades shows, again and again, the healing potential of this modality.

How does Reflexology work?

Foot Reflexology works on several levels.

Research in the 1890s by Henry Head and Charles Sherrington shows us the neurological relationship between the skin and the internal organs, and that the nervous system as a whole adjusts to stimulus.  By applying pressure to the feet, the calming message to peripheral nerves is carried through the central nervous system signaling the body to relax.  This enhanced relaxation allows increased blood supply to the internal organs and their systems. This relaxation allows, additionally, the body to move naturally toward homeostasis and more optimal functioning.  

The neuromatrix theory of pain helps us to understand how Reflexology reduces pain levels in the body.  According to the neuromatrix theory, pain is a subjective experience created by the brain.  The brain does this in response to not only physical stimuli but also in response to emotional or cognitive factors.  Thus, your moods or stress levels can also affect your experience of pain.  Reflexology may reduce pain by reducing stress and improving mood.

Lastly, Reflexology is recognized as a specific type of massage developed based on Zone Theory.  Zone Theory, developed by Dr. William Fitzgerald in the early 1900s, understands foot reflexologythe body is divided into 10 vertical zones, each zone corresponding to fingers and toes all the way up to the head.  In Reflexology, every organ, gland, or body part that lies within a zone can be accessed via a reflex zone or point on the foot or hand.  For example, if you work on the horizontal reflex zone at the base of the ball of the foot, you are affecting the solar plexus and diaphragm.  These pathways between reflex zones and other parts of the body are thought to be connected via the nervous system, as described above.

History

Modern reflexology is based on an ancient form of therapy. There is evidence of some form of foot and hand therapy being practiced in Tibet and China as long ago as 4,000 B.C. and also at the same time in Egypt, as depicted in the tomb of Ankhmahor. The North American tribes of Indians are known to have practiced a form of foot therapy for hundreds of years. While there is some confusion about the true origin of this powerful therapy, sufficient to say that it has stood the test of time and has helped thousands of people to better health.

Zone Therapy

Dr. William FitzGerald (1872-1942) is credited with being the father of ‘zone therapy’. He worked in Vienna beginning around 1899. Zone therapy divides the body into ten zones—five on each side of the sagittal plane. The hands/arms and feet/legs were also divided into five zones each. Dr. Edwin Bowers in his book co-authored with Dr. FitzGerald, Zone Therapy in 1917 writes that FitzGerald discovered zone therapy in 1909 but gives no indication where he became acquainted with the theory. From 1915 into the early thirties the subject of zone therapy was controversial but did meet with a certain amount of success with doctors and dentists as a form of pain relief or analgesia.

Reflex Work

Dr. Joe Shelby Riley (1856 -1947), trained by Dr. FitzGerald further developed zone therapy by adding eight horizontal divisions to the zones of the feet and hands. His work is accurately the beginning of reflexology as it is known today—that is, reflexes found on the feet and hands that follow the anatomy of the body. Riley’s work with reflexes and zones also included the hands and ears.

Reflexology

During the 1930’s Eunice D. Ingham (1889-1972) met Riley as early as 1919 worked for Dr. Riley in St. Petersburg, Florida and continued to refine and improve his work. From her first book, Stories the Feet Can Tell (1938) she was encouraged by Riley and others to take her work to the public and non-medical community. Eunice’s major contribution to working with reflexes was that alternating pressure, rather than having a numbing effect, stimulated healing. For forty years she lectured and traveled back and forth across the United States, and is largely responsible for Foot Reflexology as taught today in most massage schools.

Reflexology at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary

At Osmosis, we recognize that Foot Reflexology could increase the healing potential of any massage experience. We offer a 15-minute Reflexology Enhancement that can be booked with any massage modality of any length.  This not only feels good and enhances deep relaxation, it also brings increased blood supply to internal organs, promoting healing and the reduction of pain.  Click here to book a massage with a Reflexology Enhancement.

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Raizelah Bayen, Massage Therapist Supervisor and Trainer at Osmosis Day SpaRaizelah Bayen is a California Certified Massage Therapist, currently employed as the Director of Training and Massage Therapist Supervisor 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.