WELLNESS TIPS FOR SEPTEMBER

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September 6, 2014 (El Cajon) – The East County Wellness Center provides free wellness tips for our readers.  This month’s wellness tips include infant massage, massage for weight loss, daily walking tips, neuromuscular massage, making your own coffee scrub, and relaxation tips for self confidence.

To read full articles, click “read more” and scroll down. 

Giving an infant massage

Infant massage can help you connect with your baby in one of the most natural ways possible. Gentle touch enhances bonding, communication, relaxation, sleep, and physical development.

Before you get started, select a soft area for your baby. This could be on your bed or on some soft blankets on the floor. Make sure the room is warm, as your baby will be undressed at least down to the diaper. Try to make the lighting low--either using a low lamp or muted daylight. Bright lights can irritate your baby's eyes.

Rub a little oil onto your hands, but don't use baby oil. Baby oils are usually mineral-based oils that actually rob the skin of moisture and clog pores. Use a gentle, plant-based oil such as almond oil or sunflower oil. You may prefer an oil that is naturally scented or has been mixed especially for massage. Lavender massage oil is very soothing to babies.

Before giving an infant massage, make sure your baby has been fed and appears comfortable. You may eventually be able to use massage to calm a fussy baby, but as you are learning about infant massage it's best to do it at a time when your baby is content.

First, undress your baby to the diaper, or take off the diaper if you'd like. Use a light but confident touch as you massage your baby. While they don't need deep pressure, they do like long and firm strokes. The feet and legs are good places to begin. Rub the feet firmly and use a milking motion up the legs.

After the legs, move on to the belly. Using firm but gentle motions begin on the right side and massage from the hip-bone up to the belly button. Then massage from the same hip-bone and over and across the belly button. Finally begin at the hip-bone, move up, over, and across the belly button and back down to the left hip-bone. This is called an "I Love You" massage because the first stroke is an "I" shape, the second is an "L" shape, and the third is a "U" shape.

After you've massaged your baby's belly, gently massage the chest before moving on to the arms and hands. You can use the same "milking" motion on the arms, and gently rub the palms of your baby's hands.

Finally, you can go to the face, brushing gently all across tension points to help your baby relax. Finally, turn your baby over and massage the back with firm but gentle strokes.

These are just the basics, but you may wish to learn more strokes to give a longer, even more relaxing, infant massage.

 
 
 

Massage for Weight Loss

There is no question that massage therapy not only feels amazing, but it has numerous health benefits as well. Another fact, which may be little known, is that massage work is highly beneficial in helping to prevent obesity. Studies show that massage makes dieting and exercise more effective than simply using those tools by themselves.

Massage has a positive effect on fitness levels and muscle-building capabilities, which increase the body's capacity to lose weight. Strong, healthy muscles allow a person the freedom to participate in all kinds of physical activities, which in turn helps them burn even more calories and improve their overall health.

There are many direct benefits of bodywork for weight loss. Massage therapy rids the body of toxins, which slow the metabolism and make fat harder to eliminate. Massage improves circulation and blood flow throughout the body. Endorphins are released, which elevates the mood-- increasing the metabolism and thus, the motivation to get up and move.

Once a previously sedentary individual has the drive to stick to a normal exercise routine, continued massage therapy will enhance their flexibility and increase the efficiency with which their muscles burn fat. If those aren't valid reasons to receive massage, then at least you can't deny how good they feel.

Eye on Fitness: A Walk A Day

One of the best preventative medicines we could all stand to take is a daily walk. Who would have thought such a simple activity could have so many benefits? The list goes on and on, but here are a few of the healthy rewards you can get out of walking:

  • decreases your risk of heart attack
  • helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • increases good cholesterol, lowers bad cholesterol
  • reduces your risk of stroke
  • helps control blood pressure
  • protects against hip fracture
  • lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes and breast cancer
  • helps relieve arthritis and back pain
  • helps prevent osteoporosis
  • elevates your mood, preventing depression
  • enhances your overall sense of well-being
  • can add years to your life!

Bodywork Spotlight: Neuromuscular Massage

Of the many varieties of massage that exist, neuromuscular massage is probably the most effective in alleviating a number of conditions, from lower back pain to muscle spasms. A technique that concentrates on the deeper layers of the skin, neuromuscular massage releases tension from the body through slow strokes and deep pressure applied to concentrated areas.

Neuromuscular massage therapy consists of varying degrees of concentrated pressure on areas prone to tight or sore muscles. Pressure can be applied with the fingers, knuckles, or elbows. Once applied, the pressure usually isn't altered or released completely for 10-30 seconds.

A neuromuscular massage can feel painful at first, but the pressure should alleviate any tightness, soreness, or spasms in the areas of concentration. Keep in mind that massage pressure should never be overly painful. If it becomes so, it's extremely important to communicate that to the massage therapist. The therapist should always listen and respond accordingly.

Following a neuromuscular massage, any soreness that presents itself should go away after 24-36 hours. The muscles that were tight should be noticeably more relaxed for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on stress, activity level, and the severity of pain prior to beginning therapy.

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Make Your Own Invigorating Coffee Scrub

Many of us like to begin our day with a hot cup of coffee. Instead of tossing out your coffee grounds, why not use them to prepare an invigorating coffee scrub for your body? This homemade coffee scrub is a great exfoliant, helps in better absorption of moisture, and because of the caffeine content, is good treatment for cellulite and varicose veins.

Ingredients

  • Organic coffee grounds
  • Salt or sugar (according to your preference)
  • Foaming Bath Butter
  • Preparation
  • Brew your coffee
  • Mix remaining grounds with the sugar or salt.
  • Whip the bath butter with a double bladed mixer.
  • While whipping, gradually add the salt or sugar.
  • Keep whipping until the sugar or salt has saturated.
  • Continue to whip the mixture, adding more salt or sugar so that there is some residue from it remaining.

Application

Apply the scrub in the shower, massaging it into your skin in circular motions. Follow up with a good moisturizer.

Caution: Use this body scrub within 20 minutes of preparing the brew to prevent oxidation.

Relaxation Tips for Self-Confidence

When people experience stress, they often start to feel like they're losing control of the situation, which undermines their confidence. Most of us have felt this way and will probably feel it again--it's all a part of being alive and interacting with your world. But when it gets to be too much to handle, try adopting some healthy habits. Here are some relaxation tips to help you feel grounded and confident again:

1. Take a break from what you're working on and do something different for a while. If you're in a high stress environment, leave for a short walk if you can. Take some deep breaths and clear your head before returning.

2. Play relaxing background music while you work. Some people prefer classical music or sounds from nature, but your idea of "relaxing" music may be different, and that's ok.

3. Slow your breathing and focus on relaxing your body.

4. Take a hot bath or shower to release tension in your muscles. If you can't do that, go to the bathroom and wash your hands in warm water, massaging them up and down the arms. Take deep breaths and focus on the warmth and feeling the release in your hands.

5. Light a calming aromatherapy candle or get some oils with relaxing scents that you like.

6. Practice mindfulness. Being present in the moment, so that you are in tune with your mind and body and can detect the subtle changes as you relax. Start by spending 5 minutes a day just sitting quietly, noticing the sights, sounds, and sensations you are experiencing. When you are aware of what your body is reacting to and what it needs, you will be better equipped to deal with stress and may possibly even prevent it altogether.

East County Wellness Center

619-270-7171

1625 East Main St. Suite 205 • El Cajon, CA 92021

www.eastcountywellnesscenter.com

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