Benefits of Routine Therapeutic Massage

massage therapist rubbing a clients back with forearm

Therapeutic massage offers many potential health benefits including increased blood flood and circulation, decreased tension in the muscles, and increased endorphin levels. These benefits are helpful in the healing process by bringing nutrition to muscles and easing anxiety to reduce pain and speed recovery. However, one session of therapeutic massage may not be enough. Routine therapeutic massages can have significant additional benefits.

Prevention of Injury

Massage can be a very powerful asset for preventive care. By seeing a massage therapist regularly, you can prevent minor skeletomuscular injuries from becoming major problems that could lead to loss of mobility or flexibility later in life. Therapeutic massage specifically works to lengthen muscles that are stuck in a pattern of chronic shortening. If you’re worried about the cost of regular massage sessions, consider how costly prescription drugs, doctor visits, and surgeries would be. The cost of prevention may be better than the cost of a cure.

Improved Posture

Poor posture often develops over time as a compensation related to joint and muscle discomfort. Routine therapeutic massage combats this by loosening muscles. It also provides relaxation for joints. This allows the body to return to its natural position.

Promotion of Circulation

Therapeutic massages help blood and other essential body fluids to flow throughout the body. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to organs and muscles within the body for optimal functioning. Lymph is a fluid that carries away toxins and impurities from tissues. A regular massage routine could help to lower blood pressure, potentially preventing chronic illnesses.

Strengthened Immune System

Therapeutic massages can help boost your immune system by increasing the activity level of the body’s defensive cells. Routine massage treatments promote the body’s ability to naturally fight bacteria and infection. If you are always getting sick, or just tend to feel “under the weather” more than most people, a regular massage routine might help you bounce back.

How To Build Healthy Self-Care Habits That Stick

Lightbox with motivation words for self care, positive thinking, mental health, emotional wellness

Self-care is all about the everyday habits that help you take care of and nurture your health and well-being. It means listening to your body, intentionally tuning in to the thoughts going on in your mind, and challenging your behaviors. 

You may love the idea of self-care, and you may be on board with the benefits, but have you recognized the need for self-care?  Actually adopting a self-care practice that can improve your life in more ways than you think.

Understand what self-care is and what is not

“The way I define self-care is the intentional, proactive pursuit of integrated wellness that balances mind, body, and spirit personally and professionally,” says Paula Gill Lopez, Ph.D., an associate professor and the chair of the department of psychological and educational consultation at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. 

Self-care is about more than taking care of your physical health. Things are moving so fast around us that we need space to self-care and slow down to rest from all the busyness in our lives.

Ultimately, your self-care routine should make you a better version of yourself.  You should get some enjoyment out of the activity.  Rule of thumb, if the activities that you choose are adding to your well-being and are not detrimental to the other areas of your life, then there is a benefit.  You are better suited to take care of others, foster strong relationships, be resilient, and balance personal and professional responsibilities.

To help you get some direction, I have rounded up some powerful, important tips on self-care.  Please take these tips as guideposts rather than commands.  Find a way to make them fit that feels comfortable.

  • Do not do things you hate:  This seems obvious but sometimes it is not.  When exercising you need to do an activity that you enjoy or it is not self-care.  Each self-care habit you engage in must be customized especially for you, and the first step is to stop routines and actives that make you feel like you’re dying inside.
  • Find out what you love:  This also seems obvious, however, when you are not doing what you love, you lose determination.  When you lose determination, you are back to square one.  Don’t settle for anything less than raw, pulsating passion.
  • Recover from “expert addiction”:  There is a curious and toxic trend in our society to trust outside sources of advice and approval more than we trust our own selves.  If you want to build lifetime habits, the ONLY approval you need is your own.   Do not allow your path to be dictated by others.  Find your own way.  You are your own expert.
  • Develop a daily self-care routine: Speak kindly to yourself EVERY DAY!  Move your body, connect with your spirit, eat mindfully.  It is much easier to do something EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. When you do something every single day, you develop a habit more easily. 
  • Play with your routine:  Commit to structure of the routine while allowing yourself to play within it.  Impose a rigid structure with rigid activities, soon you will feel suffocated.  To feel free as well as fulfilled, you must allow for structure as well as play in your habits.  Allow for your routine to have a basic structure and allow yourself to play with the activities within that structure.
  • Relax:  Remember the feeling of peace.  The purpose of caring for yourself is to do it in a way that is graceful, flowing, and kind to yourself.  If you begin to get stressed, find a way to relax.  A massage or facial can do wonders 😉
  • Know your worth:  Self-care is important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself as it produces positive feelings and boosts your confidence and self-esteem. 
  • A healthy work-life balance: Contrary to common belief, workaholism is not a virtue. Being overworked with excessive stress and exhaustion can make you less productive, disorganized, and emotionally depleted.  I can also lead to all sorts of healthy problems.  Professional self-care habits are just as important and personal self-care habits.  Setting professional boundaries, avoiding overextending, etc. ensures that you stay sharp, motivated and healthy.
  • Stress Management: A little does of stress is a healthy way to give us a nudge on deadlines or to finish overdue tasks, constant stress and anxiety can have an adverse effect on your mental and physical health. Eating healthy, connecting with a loved one or practicing meditation cuts down the toxic effects of stress by improving your mood and boosting your energy and confidence levels.

Now, after we’ve decided on new self-care habits, how do we get them to stick?

  • Start small – if you’re increasing water intake, start by one extra glass. It’s baby steps that will lead to big accomplishments.
  • Know your excuses – What gets in the way of this habit? Is it because you’re tired? Or you run out of time? Whatever habit you’re failing to form, consider what is preventing your success. Once you nail down your usual excuses, you can address them!
  • Set yourself up for success – It’s time to nip the excuses in the bud and get to work. If you forget your gym clothes, have an extra pair in your car. If you have a tendency to forget appointments for yourself, schedule them and don’t back out!
  • You will fail, but try again – Whether you cheat on a diet, skip a work out, or forgot to journal this morning – it’s ok! Just try again tomorrow.
  • Keep track – What gets measured gets managed. Plus it’s a great way to set goals, smash those goals, and celebrate your successes!

Precision Wellness is here for you, no matter what part we take in your self-care journey. Remember, you’ve got this!

Stress Relief With Therapeutic Massage


Our experiences in life are reflected in our bodies. Our pleasures and pains, the ups and downs of daily life affect the body profoundly, often in ways, we’re not aware of. Stress is more than a household word these days – it’s something everyone feels to one degree or another. Let’s take a look at the mechanics of stress and the role therapeutic massage can play in stress management.

Understanding The Stress Response

Stress is an unconscious and automatic reaction to anything we believe may be threatening to us. In the stress response, the body is primed for fight or flight by messages carried by the sympathetic branch of the nervous system. Whether we are confronted by a mugger in the street or find ourselves in a long line at the bank or a short lunch hour, the effects are the same, impacting all levels – physical, mental, and emotional.

We are at full readiness as our body tenses and our breathing gets shallower and more rapid. There is an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenaline production, with a corresponding decrease in blood flow to the extremities, digestive function, and immune system activity.

Ideally, this defensive reaction will subside once the situation has resolved, allowing our body to return to its normal state of affairs. We often help this process with some rest, the right exercise, or massage therapy.

However, a person who is frequently under stressful influences will tend to remain locked into a pattern of the stress response, unable to relax or let go. This type of pattern is damaging to the body; as it escalates, it ultimately leads to discomfort or pain and is a contributing factor in most disease processes.

The longer one is in pain, the more likely one will try to block it out. It is at this point that alcohol and drugs often enter the picture. Unfortunately, as one uses substances that deaden the nervous system to reduce the perception of the pain, awareness of oneself and others are reduced in the process.

In Our Everyday Experience

Like driving a car with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake, we experience stress whenever we initiate action and hold it back at the same time. Our ever-obedient muscles try to obey both messages and work against each other.

In the same way, we have our own unique muscular responses to the expression of emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, and exhilaration. We use our muscles to block, control and restrain these strong feelings and our reaction to them. Even though we may be unaware of the amount of tension we store within, it puts extra wear and tear on both mind and body over time.

Maintaining these patterns of chronic tension is like leaving the lights on all night – it takes energy; but once it’s a habit, we no longer recognize it as such. What we do notice are aches, pains, fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, PMS, or a host of other stress-related symptoms. These symptoms are important signals to be heeded, rather than ignored or bypassed. Accumulated stress and tension always diminish the amount of energy and vitality we have to enjoy life, be creative and productive, and strive for better things.

The Relaxation Response

The antidote to stress is known as the relaxation response, which is triggered by the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system. This action sends messages to the body to relax, slow down and take a deep breath: saying in effect, it’s time for rest and healing.

There are a number of ways to promote this response, such as exercise, meditation, listening to calming music, guided visualization, biofeedback, and of course, therapeutic massage.

Massage takes place in a comfortable and safe environment, which is generally away from the source of most stressors. As massage stimulates the relaxation response, muscular tension is released, circulation is increased and sensory receptors are activated. Areas that have been “cut off” by accumulated stress can begin to feel once again. Massage teaches us to tune in to body signals and soothes us at the same time.

All of this results in greater body awareness which can help you to more carefully monitor your own body’s responses and needs. Then you can release tension before it becomes chronic and damaging. Living in a more relaxed and balanced body will enable you to better handle the stresses in your life, and nothing can take you back to that state of well-being more quickly than massage.

What To Look For In A Facial


Facials for problem skin: what to look for

  The following are key components of a good problem skin facial or acne facial.

1. Skin analysis 

Your esthetician should examine your skin closely under magnification and discuss with you what you’re using on your skin daily, in detail. Like a detective, your esthetician tries to piece together the culprits for your breakouts. They may not be the usual suspects, especially if you have Adult Onset Acne. You may have enjoyed clear skin all your life, even avoided teenage acne, and suddenly find yourself breaking out, for no apparent reason. Adult Onset Acne is harder to clear than teen acne, which is very straightforward.

Regardless of your age, acne is never the result of just one factor, such as excess oil or bacteria. It’s almost always a combination of issues, and each one must be addressed in order to get your skin clear.

Your esthetician will evaluate the type of eruptions and impactions you have. For example, you can have very clogged pores but no breakouts. Or you can have breakouts that seem unrelated to any pore impactions. Then again, you may have classic clogged-pores-with-breakouts. This is one of the easiest problems to treat; clearing your pores will usually end your breakouts.

2. Exfoliation 

For someone with clogged pores, a deep exfoliation is the first step in loosening the debris that is blocking the follicle. Skin cells have an adhesive property that enables them to cling to the surface of the skin. The protective “horny layer” forms the outermost layer of the skin. Your pores are not holes in the skin; they’re tiny indentations on its surface. That’s why this layer of sticky surface cells is present inside the pores as well. And if you have clogged pores, you’re cursed with extra-sticky skin cells, which clump together inside the pores, forming impactions that block the natural flow of oil out of the pore. Acne bacteria show up to feast on this oil.

Sometimes “super sticky” skin cells are caused by your own skin’s adhesive properties, and sometimes it’s caused by the products you apply to the skin. If this is the cause of your acne, you have an easy-to-remedy condition called acne cosmedica. It’s simply a matter of figuring out which product in your routine is gumming up your pores. Usually, it’s your moisturizer or sunscreen.

Exfoliation can be accomplished with an enzyme that dissolves dead skin cells (fruit enzymes from papaya and pineapple do this.) A more intensive way to do this is with an alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acid peel. Scrubs are a crude way to exfoliate and tend to cause more inflammation and irritation for acne conditions. The use of AHA/BHA formulas at home will help the cells on the follicle wall continue to slough off. A serum with a combination of salicylic acid and glycolic acid produces an excellent synergistic effect.

Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) also helps to keep the follicles free of debris, and it kills the anaerobic bacteria which cause acne by introducing oxygen. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to use high concentrations of BPO to clear your skin.

3. Proper massage technique

For true acne conditions, the less friction the better, but there are massage techniques, including Manual Lymphatic Drainage and a manipulation called Jacquet (a gentle pinching/rolling) that are beneficial. They help to detoxify the skin. As an excretory organ, the skin is responsible for evacuating waste. Sluggish skin, sometimes referred to as “asphyxiated” skin, needs a bit of encouragement. If your skin texture is normal to thick, and your pore impactions resemble “waxy yellow buildup,” you’ll probably respond well to massage. When dealing with inflamed acne, most skincare experts omit facial massage altogether.

4. Proper extraction technique

Expert extraction is essential to clearing problem skin, but few estheticians employ the proper technique. It must be precise and targeted to the “offending” pore. For example, most estheticians wrap their fingers in gauze, cotton, or tissue and simply squeeze the area around a pore–hard. This is the exact wrong thing to do to the skin in which there are inflamed pustules. The walls of these inflamed pores are compromised and weak from the infection, and squeezing can cause them to rupture, spilling bacteria-laden debris into the deep, living layers of the skin. When this happens, your skin will form “tombstone scars,” trapped pockets of infection buried deep in the skin that periodically re-inflame as stubborn, painful bumps. They can never be extracted and they will haunt you for years (hence the name.)

Squeezing is also poor physics unless you’re dealing with large, open pores such as those on the nose. When you’ve had squeeze-style extractions, you’ll notice that the skin sloughs like mad around the extracted areas in a couple of days. That’s because the pressure of the squeezing literally pulls away from the upper layer of skin and causes it to peel off.

Good extraction technique is about precision, applying the right amount of pressure at exactly the right spot. At Precision Wellness we use a special surgical steel extractor that can address one pore at a time. This is not the big, crude comedone extracting “loop” or “dish with the hole in it”, but has a very tiny curve that is placed around the clogged pore. Then the debris is pushed, from the back of the pore to the front, guiding it toward the “exit.” This enables the complete evacuation of the comedone.

If you find that you break out after facials, the culprit is usually improperly performed, or incomplete, extractions. If the esthetician breaks up a comedone while extracting it, the remaining debris in the pore will run wild, creating a blemish.

If an esthetician ever tells you that you’re supposed to break out after a facial, run, don’t walk, in the opposite direction. The classic claim is that post-facial breakouts are “impurities coming to the surface.” Believe me, your skin excretes impurities and waste all day long–that’s what it’s designed to do. It does not have to erupt to cleanse itself. It is possible to overstimulate the skin during a marathon extraction session, and every esthetician has done this at one time or another, but that’s not the right outcome. If you’ve had a lot of extractions, we’ll often advise putting an ice cube in a plastic bag and massaging the skin during the hours after the treatment. You can also mask your skin again the following day to help sedate it further.

5. Calming and sedating 

After extracting comedones, it’s good to give the skin a chance to calm down.

Many skins will also benefit from a quick pass with a high-frequency electrode. This elongated glass tube, which glows blue to violet and makes an unsettling buzzing sound, looks like something straight out of science fiction, but it works wonderfully. The esthetician can actually create a “spark gap” between a blemish and the electrode to zap it, destroying bacteria. And yes, that little zap feels not-so-relaxing–don’t worry, we’ll warn you. Not everyone prefers to “nuke” their blemishes with high frequency, but it really works.

6. Recommend the proper home care regimen

No matter how good the facial treatment is the key to clearing skin is using the right home care regimen. This is the product that touches your skin daily.

7. Recommend the right interval, right length facial treatment program

Any time you want to change the behavior of your body, you have to repeatedly challenge or treat it, over a period of time. Imagine trying to get in shape by working out once a month, and you’ll have an idea of how unrealistic it is to think that a periodic facial, without a proper home, can clear acne. Don’t be surprised if your esthetician asks you to come in once a week for four to six weeks when you kick off your skin clearing project. The good news is that once you’ve gotten control of your skin, you can drop back to a maintenance schedule that may be as little as once a month. But you have to do your part, and stick to your regimen at home.

It takes a comedone (blackhead) 90 days to form. That means you should allow at least 90 days to cycle through all the existing, built-up debris and get your skin cleared, but professional treatments really accelerate this process. The more you participate–masking at least twice a week, using your home care faithfully, and following our clear skin guidelines–the faster you’ll see results.


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