Mental-Emotional Benefits of Massage

massage at OsmosisMassage is often viewed as a luxury, a pampering or self-indulgent extravagance. Research shows that while massage is definitely a “feel good” experience, it has numerous mental and emotional benefits linked to neurotransmitters and hormones released through therapeutic touch. Yes, we all know massage can increase muscle flexibility, blood circulation and our joints’ range of motion. But massage can do more than that. Massage can reduce stress, elevate our mood, help with depression and anxiety, improve our sleep and increase our sociability.

Five Neurochemical Benefits of Massage, all Improving Your Mental-Emotional Well-Being

Seratonin and Dopamine

While anyone who has experienced massage knows that it is a relaxing experience, few understand the neurochemical changes produced by therapeutic touch, all of which can increase our feelings of emotional well-being. One study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that massage recipients measure a 28% averaged increase of serotonin and a 31% averaged increase in of dopamine in the bloodstream, following massage therapy.  Serotonin helps to regulate mood, appetite and digestion. Synthesized in the brain and intestines, it is theorized that low serotonin levels contribute to depression and anxiety. Its close relative, dopamine, is associated with the reward centers of the brain. Low dopamine levels are associated with lack of motivation, low energy and the inability to focus, all symptoms linked to depression. The increased levels of these neurotransmitters produced by massage can regulate, even elevate your mood, energy, motivation and mental focus, all improving your emotional state.

Endorphins

Research also shows an increase in endorphins resulting from massage, as much as 16% more found in volunteers tested after connective tissue massage. Endorphins are the neurotransmitters produced to relieve pain and improve mood. They are your body’s natural narcotic. In fact, the chemical structure of endorphins resembles that of opiate pain-relieving drugs that are derived from the poppy plant. Most people associate elevated endorphins with exercise, such as the “runner’s high,” but endorphins are also produced by laughter, dark chocolate (yes!) and of course, massage.

Oxytocin

Additionally, massage and other forms of touch, such as a hug or embrace, have been shown through numerous studies to increase the neurotransmitter and hormone of oxytocin. Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone.” It increases feelings of bonding and belonging, a sense of stability and trust, and enhances our sociability.  Research has shown that this hormone can relieve social anxiety, depression and stress, while increasing empathy, generosity, self-esteem, and optimism.

Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous System

While we see that massage can increase our “feel good” neurotransmitters and hormones, it also helps to reduce those that produce unpleasant experiences associated with the stress hormones. Understand that the autonomic nervous system has two divisions: the parasympathetic and the sympathetic. The latter activates the “fight or flight” response. It can help you respond to a perceived threat and will accelerate the heart rate, contract muscles and increase the rate of your breath, readying your body for action. The parasympathetic, by contrast, is seen as the “rest and digest” mode, characterized by relaxed breathing.

Humans are complex beings. Our sympathetic nervous system isn’t just activated by life-threatening events, but also memories of past traumas or threats, and daily stressors, such as work demands, family dysfunctions or traffic congestion.  We can get thrown into, or even stuck in, flight-or-flight mode, resulting in feelings of stress, worry or overwhelm. Any time the sympathetic nervous system is activated, we see an increase in the hormones of adrenaline and norepinephrine, the hormones that enable the body to spring into action. This may have been helpful to our ancestors who perceived the threat of tiger hunting the village. But if your brain is constantly interpreting chronic financial or relationship distress, the physiological response will probably result in continual stress and anxiety.  

Massage can be an antidote to an overactive sympathetic nervous system.  It can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, thus reducing levels of adrenaline and norepinephrine, and helping the body to return to it “rest and digest” state.  

Cortisol

Stress produces another hormone called cortisol. If chronic stressors in life result in cortisol release over a long amount of time, immune system suppression, increased blood pressure and weight gain can be the results. Research again shows massage as a potential antidote.  A study in 2010 found that Swedish massage recipients had lower levels of cortisol and higher counts in white blood cells, after receiving massage.

Human contact, or the touch therapies, are clearly critical to maintaining mental-emotional wellness in our often pace-paced, stressful lives. Not only does massage provide the much-needed relaxation throughout the treatment process, but its neurochemical effects can enhance your mood, relationships, and engagement in life. Schedule a massage today to experience the profound healing massage can provide if you are feeling down, anxious, having difficulty sleeping, feel isolated or just stressed-out.

Osmosis Vital Health Club

As we move into 2019, and you set your goals for better health and self-care, massage can be a profound addition to your regime. Consider the many benefits already proven by neuroscientific medical research on the deep impact massage has on our body-mind connection and health. Sign up for our Vital Health Club membership to build massage into your ongoing health care regime.

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.

Did You Know Osmosis Was a Junkyard?

By Michael Stusser

It was 30 years ago, October 31, 1988, when I first walked onto the property in Freestone that has become Osmosis. I had been looking for over a year to find a place in west Sonoma County to relocate after operating the original prototype version of the enzyme bath out of a 400-square-foot building I built with wood recycled from a chicken coop. I had looked at many possible places to move, but they were all in commercial environments and just not suitable for the ambiance I knew was needed.

 

What It Looked Like

junk and mess

It was a beautiful fall day when I went over to meet my real estate agent Cary Fargo in Freestone. The building was cold and dark with very few windows, and a funky gas heater was mounted on the wall. The floor was covered with a red carpet that was thin, tacky and stained. Paint was chipping off everywhere, and a vibe of abandonment hung in the air. A flimsy bathroom had been tacked onto the back of the building. A half-way decent two-bedroom apartment was on the second floor, but we had to climb a rickety outdoor staircase to get there.

Junk Everywhere

Dozens of realtors’ cards were strewn about, evidencing that many had been to look but there had been no takers; the place had been on the market for a long time. Outside several dilapidated railway cars lined the side and back of the building. A large flat area that had been graded along the creek was strewn with dead cars and lots of junk. Apparently, the owner had died after consolidating his lifetime collection of railway equipment and antique cars on this, the last of many properties he had owned at one time. Walking through all of this was overwhelming and depressing. At first, it seemed impossible to envision anything beautiful or healing ever happening here.

painting of oz

Another Perspective

Then I walked to the back of the 5.5-acre property. As I climbed the hillside and gained the ridge, a whole 360-degree panorama of the Freestone Valley opened up. The view in every direction was stunning, the valley floor, farms, and redwood-lined ridges shimmering in the low-angle light of this magical fall day. It was very quiet, and the natural environment felt undisturbed and vibrant. Wandering down into the riparian thicket, I found my way into the bed of Salmon Creek. I felt enchanted by the quality of the air, the beauty of nature, and the good feeling arising in my being. It reminded me of the many sacred spots in the northern California terra that had captivated my soul again and again. I felt I had arrived at a long-sought-after destination, peaceful, calm, and invited.

 

building fieldThe Trees Spoke

It was as if the land and the trees were calling to me— “stay, breath in this place—heal your soul.” An unmistakable component of the message was – “How wonderful it would be to bring people here?” It became clear to me that whatever it would take to clean up the mess up in front and make that building into a spa would be worth it, because at some point, I would be able to get people to come into this magical riparian realm and share with them the vital spirit of nature I was feeling.

The Treetment – What if Your Next Spa Treatment Could Save the Planet?

CLICK HERE to TAKE ACTION https://greenspanetwork.org/gsnplants…

The video is designed to support the Green Spa Network with their Tree Planting Initiative, a campaign to create action and awareness in the spa and wellness industry around reforestation. Green Spa Network founder and activist, Michael Stusser alongside United Nations award-winning rapper/filmmaker, Aaron Ableman, have collaborated on an urgent “call to action” film, “The Treetment”, about the role everyday people can play in reversing climate change.

“We chose to partner with Aaron because he understands that we need to use music, humor, and art to mainstream this movement. For the last 12 years, he has been working to create motivating music, books, and videos for school-age children about the healing power of nature and how to reconnect by simple actions like planting trees. His talent, passion, and energy is irresistible,” said Stusser.

The musical comedy short film brings forward GSN’s invitation to the spa community and beyond to heal the broken connection between human beings and the earth. The story tells the tale of a stressed-out CEO who is urged to visit a healing spa, where he is transformed in a cedar enzyme bath experience featuring renowned Native-American activist, Lyla June. This awakening to personal healing for planetary action mirrors what GSN’s Tree Planting Initiative hopes to inspire in thousands of others. Can we reverse climate change by engaging in a global effort to restore our verdant planet? It has been scientifically validated and demonstrated with many projects that restoration of our planet’s health is entirely possible through regenerative forestry.

 

https://youtu.be/xDkIuOKKSJg

Regenerative tree planting addresses numerous issues to help make climate action easy for everyone. The following short video from our partner WeForest lays the groundwork for our initiative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qhYo… “Healthy and growing forests remain the best technology for removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” https://www.weforest.org/ Green Spa Network’s Tree Planting Initiative is premised on the critical and urgent need to regenerate the earth using trees’ natural abilities to reverse climate change. GSN is raising funds for the WeForest organization because of the science-based methodology used to support the ground operations, planting, and the survival of the trees. WeForest’s mission is to leverage business and scientific partnerships and empower communities to sustainably advance and implement innovative, high-standard, scalable, and lasting solutions to restore forest landscapes. Tree planting donations can be made at the GSN Tree Planting Initiative website: GreenSpaNetwork.org/GSNPlantsTrees. GSN is also using the hashtag #GSNPlantsTrees to follow the industry’s progress and stories.

About Green Spa Network

GSN is a nonprofit trade association serving the spa industry in support of action for a regenerative post-carbon era. Their mission is to promote the vital connections between personal wellbeing, economic sustainability and the health of our planet. Through networking, education, and best practices developed with a membership of the nation’s most innovative green spas, GSN is a resource for vital people building a vital planet. https://greenspanetwork.org/

Media Contact: Joanna Roche Executive Director joanna@greenspanetwork.org

The video was sponsored by and shot at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone, California. https://www.osmosis.com/

Former Olympic Champion Uses Cedar Enzyme Bath for Training Recovery

sports massage

Enjoy riding and training on the infamous roads of Sonoma County? Are you a resident or a visitor hoping to get more out of your training and riding on our beautiful roads? Wishing you could recover quicker, more completely and get more from each workout? Try a visit to Osmosis, conveniently located in Freestone. With a bike-friendly environment and its unique offering of Cedar Enzyme Baths, Osmosis is an ideal training tool for any cyclist.

An Enzyme bath is an ideal means to totally relax and revive after a vigorous workout. This Japanese heat treatment is a biologically induced process that removes lactic acid from your muscles, reduces inflammation, and increases mobility. Former National and World Champion and Sonoma County resident Giana Roberge, AKA the Speed Queen, became a true believer following a grueling 30 European tour when she was totally resurrected after one Cedar Enzyme Bath treatment.

The Cedar Enzyme Bath was an amazing experience. It made me feel clean, energized, revitalized, more flexible and the muscle soreness that had plagued me for weeks was gone after one treatment. It became part of my training regime for my most stressful training blocks.

Choose one of our packages combining a Cedar Bath with a 75-minute massage from one of our gifted body workers and you have a post cycling experience designed to maximize your  hard work by giving your body a complete and cleansing recovery. Fully restored, detoxed, and flexible means better blood flow in your muscles which will not only allow them to work harder but they will be less likely to incur injury. With flexible and clean muscles, fatigue will be less, power output will increase, and you will, literally, be able to pedal faster.

cedar bath 2for1

Our exceptional spa services and serene meditation garden add up to a fantastic enhancement to your Sonoma cycling experience. Osmosis is extending a special welcome mat to all cyclists. Ride in during the month of August 2018 and get a FREE Pagoda Upgrade!

*Pagoda subject to availability.

The Osmosis Cedar Enzyme Bath Deepens the Benefits of Massage

Osmosis Cedar Enzyme Bath

The heat in the Enzyme Bath is produced biologically by the activity of microorganisms, which also produce their own electrochemical environment.  When the largest organ of the body, the skin, comes in direct contact with this intense metabolic activity, the heat and energy benefit your body in many ways.  

The benefits of the Cedar Enzyme Bath not only support but deepen the benefits of massage.

Heat treatment, such as the Cedar Enzyme Bath, is well known to benefit muscle soreness and pain in a variety of ways:  
  • The blood vessels of the muscular system are dilated with heat therapy, which in turn, increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, helping to heal damaged tissue, such as muscle strains.
  • Heat stimulates the sensory receptors in the skin, which means the Cedar Enzyme Bath may aid in decreasing the transmissions of pain signals to the brain, thus relieving discomfort associated with muscle pain.
  • If you are sore after an increased workout, the heat combined with the metabolic activity of the enzymes will help to move lactic acid build up, which creates that sensation of muscle soreness, out of the tissues.
  • Heat will help soften the muscular tissue for your massage.  This enables your massage therapist, working on stiff, tight or “knotted” areas to reach deeper layers of tissue enabling a deeper release of muscle tension.
  • Finally, because heat will decrease the transmission of pain signals to the brain, the Cedar Enzyme Bath can address the “hurt all over” pain or discomfort associated with fibromyalgia, the rheumatic diseases, drug side effects, vitamin D deficiency and sleep deprivation.

It is important to note that while heat therapy, such as the Cedar Enzyme Bath, can aid in the relief of many types of muscular soreness, pain or discomfort, there are certain types of pain for which heat is not suggested.  Never apply heat to an infected area. Never apply heat to a fresh injury characterized by inflammation. Ice is soothing to inflamed tissue. Lastly, heat is contraindicated for the flare-up certain arthritic conditions.

Heat is primarily for relaxation, comfort, and reassurance, taking the edge of several kinds of body pain, mostly duller persistent pains associated with muscle stiffness, soreness due to lactic acid, or muscular cramping or spasm. Heat is reassuring and this reassurance, through applied neurology, is analgesic.

The next time you book a Cedar Enzyme Bath at Osmosis, try one of our packages that couples the bath with a massage, and find out for yourself how much the bath deepens and enhances the benefits of your massage. The combination of services in our package offerings is no accident. Osmosis offers the Cedar Enzyme Bath in a variety of spa packages combining the bath with a massage.  These include the Rejuvenation Package, the Transformation package, the Specialty Package, Bath as Medicine, the Ultimate Experience and our couple’s package called the Warmth of Love.

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.