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Winter 2017 Newsletter
Comfort For All
An Introduction to Clothed Massage
While we most commonly think of massage as involving a massage table with lotions or oils, and draped sheets for privacy, did you know there are many kinds of massage you can receive while still keeping your clothes on?
The style of clothed massage you are most likely to be familiar with is chair massage. Available at airports, health fairs, and even in grocery stores, chair massage is easy to give and receive in public places. But the options for clothed massage don't end with this traditional favorite.
Types of Clothed Massage
Many of the techniques used in chair massage are adapted from shiatsu, a type of massage that originated in Japan and literally translates into "finger pressure." Like acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, shiatsu uses a system of energy meridians. Techniques used include brushing, compression, kneading, rocking, shaking, stretching, and, of course, thumb pressure, to stimulate the meridians. You do not have to be interested in, or knowledgeable about, meridian theory to feel the effects of a shiatsu massage--simply lie back and enjoy it as you would any other bodywork. Traditionally given on a mat on the floor, shiatsu has also been adapted to the table. While appropriate for relaxation and wellness, it also utilizes passive stretching.
Tui na and Thai massage are two other types of Asian massage. Both use many of the same techniques as shiatsu to ease the recipient into a state of relaxation. The more gentle tui na is generally given on a table, while the more vigorous Thai massage is traditionally given on a floor mat, though it may be adapted to tables as well.
Acupressure uses the same meridian system as acupuncture, but uses the practitioner's hands and fingers instead of needles to stimulate each point. Of all the kinds of massage mentioned here, acupressure is the subtlest.
Reflexology, a style of massage that aims to affect the whole body by touching only the hands and feet, is another widely available type of massage that can be received fully clothed. It is great for people who do not wish, or are unable, to receive touch on the rest of their body (for instance, due to burns, a rash, or modesty).
Sports and deep-tissue massage may be given partially clothed--for instance, in a sleeveless shirt and shorts--if the session is focused on one area of the body, such as the calf or forearm. Oftentimes, you'll see massage tents set up at various sporting events, like bike races. Weary athletes will find their way to the massage tables after a day's ride, looking to have their aching muscles attended to through their clothing.
A Great way to start
If you have ever felt timid about undressing for a session, or have a friend, family member, or colleague who is hesitant to try massage for that reason, clothed massage can be a great way to feel safe and secure while receiving the healing gift of touch. You may also enjoy it simply because the sensation of being touched through clothing is different from the sensation of skin-to-skin contact. Ultimately, if remaining clothed gives someone the courage to try massage for the first time, then it's a worthwhile option.
In shiatsu, there is a saying: "It takes almost as long to learn how to receive shiatsu, as it does to give it." This is a great reminder that touch therapy is a very wide world, with many different flavors, tastes, and colors to try and explore. Good luck on your bodywork adventure!
Faith Cornwall is a massage therapist, yoga teacher, and student of Healing Touch in Oakland, California.
Skin Care Through Changing Seasons
Keep your skin looking and feeling great
With the change in season, many people will begin to notice a difference in the way their skin looks and feels. Many people find that as we move closer to winter, their skin becomes more dried out and flaky. The good news is there are things you can do to keep your skin looking good as the seasons change.
"Winter approaching doesn't mean your skin has to look dull and dry," says Katherine Goldman, celebrity esthetician/waxologist and owner of the Stript Wax Bar. "It also doesn't mean you have to turn to chemicals in an effort to maintain some of your tan throughout the fall and winter. There are much better options available to everyone who wants to take advantage of them."
Here are some tips that can help keep skin looking and feeling great as the seasons change:
- Dull skin can be countered by having regular facials. Facials remove dead and flaky skin and help restore a natural glow. They give skin an overall healthier appearance.
- When winter approaches, it is important to moisturize the skin so it doesn't become dried out. After cleansing, follow with an anti-aging serum and apply a good quality moisturizer.
- Bypass the chemical tans that come in take-home spray bottles and lotions. They usually contain chemicals you should avoid putting on the skin and will most likely not provide the natural tan look most people seek. Tanning booths also have risks, so opt for an organic spray tan instead
- Go to a waxologist for hair removal, so skin irritation and problems can be avoided. Having hair professionally waxed will keep the skin smooth and unblemished.
- Drink plenty of water to maintain youthful cells. If the skin doesn't get enough water, it will look aged and dehydrated.
- Eat foods like strawberries, tomatoes, salmon, edamame, tea, carrots, broccoli, and avocado, which have nutrients that help protect the skin and keep it looking great.
The Wrinkle Cure
Air pollutants, toxins, cigarette smoke, cell metabolism, exposure to the sun, and other environmental factors initiate free radicals, which can cause dangerous reactions that destroy cells and damage DNA, proteins, and fats. Free radicals also interfere with collagen production and integrity, resulting in loss of elasticity and, ultimately, aging skin. Although this is a natural and unavoidable by-product of metabolism, an overabundance of free radical damage can cause premature aging and wrinkles. Fortunately, there's a nutritional way to fight the elements.
Coenzyme Q10, also called CoQ10 and ubiquinone, is a fat soluble, vitamin-like nutrient present in virtually all cells and considered the spark plug of the body, helping to produce and regulate energy as well as fighting free radicals as an antioxidant.
CoQ10 levels are highest during the first 20 years of life and decline with time, so much so that at age 80, CoQ10 levels may be lower than at birth. Yet the body's demand for CoQ10 increases with age. Furthermore, statin (cholesterol-lowering) medications can further deplete the body of CoQ10.
The recommended daily CoQ10 dose is 30 mg, in combination with alpha lipoic acid and vitamins A, C, E, and selenium. Foods highest in CoQ10 include sardines, beef, peanuts, spinach, and albacore tuna. However, it would take a pound of sardines, two pounds of beef, or two-and-a-half pounds of peanuts to provide 30 mg, and cooking foods at high temperatures degrades the enzyme. Consequently, CoQ10 supplementation is likely necessary to achieve therapeutic effects.
CoQ10 can also benefit topically, as it's a small molecule that can easily penetrate the skin. When CoQ10 is combined with vitamins C and E in creams or lotions, the synergistic effect can neutralize free radicals, thus reducing wrinkles.
Supplementing with CoQ10 is not only a good antiaging strategy for the skin, it can also enhance energy, cognition, heart health, stroke prevention, and immune support.