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Best Massage in Cincinnati---Specializing in barefoot deep tissue massage
Saturday, September 08 2007

Now offering Hot Ashi, a combination of barefoot massage and Mother Earth Pillows.

Many massage therapists use different types of heating or cooling agents to assist in their clients' pain relief. Ashiatsu therapists often use Mother Earth pillows, heating pads or heated slippers to warm their bare feet prior to giving a massage. I like to use the large style flax pillow to warm my feet, then use it throughout the massage on the client's sacrum, feet, etc.

The following article has been reprinted with permission from Mother Earth Pillows.

by Karen Kowal, RN, LMT, NCTMB

Therapeutic Value of Warmth

Warmth has comforted and soothed us for ages. But the reality of the value of heat treatment can clearly be seen if we look at the action of warmth on tissues, cells, and circulation.

    Heat dilates the blood vessels to increase the flow of blood cells rich with oxygen to reach the skin. This transports vital oxygen and nutrients to the cells of muscle tissues and nerves. Areas of soft tissue that do not receive adequate oxygenation may suffer from ischemia or lack of oxygen.
    Warmth provides relief from muscle tension as the blood vessels dilate. More nutrients reach the fatigued muscles. Lactic acid, or waste material naturally created in cellular tissues and muscles are more easily swept away as the warmth increases viscosity of the thicker waste products (heading for the lymphatic system collectors) and by increasing blood flow. Compression from the weight of the warmed flax pillows helps deliver the warmth to a greater depth than surface warming can. This forms a flushing response in soft tissue.. blood flowing to the surface. waste products being moved out of surrounding tissues.resulting in healthier tissues.
    Stretching of soft tissues, muscles, connective tissue and adhesions can be facilitated by warming the area first. This is highly recommended to decrease injury and stiffness. Increased range of motion is experienced when stretching warmed tissue. An increased level of comfort is experienced.

    Heat softens the lipids that form a barrier under the skin. Ingredients penetrate the skin layer more easily. This will affect permeation and absorption of any products (natural or chemical) placed on the skin. Moist warmth helps deliver minute quantities of the herbal blends or Pure Essential Oils deep into the skin with absorption. This provides activation and release of the minute molecules of essential oils as they are applied with carrier oil during topical application. Low levels of oil molecules released from natural herbal blends as the flax and herbal pillows are warmed will add to relaxation and comfort. Over the ages, flax has been used as a poultice, being moistened and often with medicinal herbs added. Once dried, it had to be discarded. The Herbal flax pillows offer an easy, efficient and clean way to provide the ?drawing' action of the ?poultice' application.
    Warmth promotes a relaxed state of mind. Though experts are not certain how this occurs, they do know that heat, like touch, send positive signals to the brain, thus relaxing you, states Assaad Sayal, MD, director of emergency medical services of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Dry Heat vs. Moist Heat

Dry heat approaches such as electric blankets, saunas and heating pads, pull away your body's natural moisture and leaves your skin dehydrated and prone to damage. Moist heat provides infusion of moisture to the top layer of skin and prevents moisture loss, thus maintaining improved hydration of the skin and cells. Moisture can be pulled from the surrounding air even though the product on the skin is not moist. Flax seeds and herbs in Mother Earth Pillows® provides warmth to tissues and creates a thin layer of moisture trapped on the skin. This helps deliver the warmth deep within the muscles.

Very hot products may burn or damage the tender tissue of the thinner skin such as over the chest, back, hips, tops of hands and face. Steaming towels can cause more damage than benefit due to the intense heat they deliver with the added moisture. The pillows provide excellent warmth that is prolonged and yet very even as it dissipates in a timely manner. Warmth is to be applied for therapeutic measure for approx 20-30 minutes. This is the anticipated length of intense warmth the Mother Earth Pillows ® provide. The remaining warmth lasting an additional 20-30 minutes offers comfort & nurturing and continues treating the muscle tissue due to the weight.

Cold application

When we experience an injury.a sprain, crushing blow, twisting a knee, ankle, ?pull' our back out or injure a muscle, the site is flooded with fluids from ruptured and torn blood vessels. This is a cellular response to bring fluid to an area, acting as a splint to the injured area to prevent further damage or bleeding. As the fluids accumulate, this additional pressure against nerves begins to cause pain.

Cold application, cold packs, ice and frozen bags of vegetables, placed over the area of trauma causes the blood vessels to contract. This contraction begins to reduce the amount of bleeding and diminish fluid leaking into the area. Using this approach helps prevent more extensive damage to the injured area and surrounding tissues. Hemorrhage or bleeding into the area is decreased and this reduces the size of hematomas or bruising at the site of injury.

Diminishing swelling means less pain and ice acts to anesthetize the nerve to help with the pain relief. As the ice is removed, usually after 15 - 20 minutes of application, the area slowly warms, allowing blood to flow back in the region. and gentle movement of blood returning begins the flushing action that helps carry away unwanted fluids and reduce the swelling. Allow the area to be without ice for as long as it has ice applied.

The guidelines for cold application is for at least 72 hours 3-4 times each 24 hour time frame after a new injury, strain or sprain. Then apply the hot and cold as alternating treatment to increase flushing of tissue and decreasing swelling.

Ice Therapy vs. Chilled Flax

When cold compresses are recommended, the first thought is generally applying ice. The frigid dripping ice cube mess or "ice burns" on the skin do not lead the patient to continued compliance. The object to cold application is to not only reduce pain but to reduce swelling. The importance of proper compliance is vital to accomplish either. Plastic waterproof covers, containers or plastic gel packs, still do not conform to the body to provide comprehensive area treatment. The flax pillow remains a pleasing cold and moves like silk to conform to the tender or swollen areas. The gentle weight of flax offers compression that reduces swelling.

Flax is capable of holding a cold temperature and providing compression at the same time. The tiny hard-shelled seed contain minute quantities of natural oil and this retains a cold temperature. A feature of the chilled flaxseed pillows is that the cold temperature is pleasant to the skin and reduces pain readily. There is only a sensation of softness and cold. without the ?burning and freezing' that accompanies plastic or frozen water applications over the skin.

Posted by: Mary-Claire AT 07:26 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
    Learn barefoot massage in our massage CE classes. Deep tissue ashiatsu barefoot massage training.


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