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By Gael Woods

It sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? You rarely hear the words ‘mood-boosting’ and ‘sofa’ together, but after a long hard day, too many of us collapse onto our sofas, exhausted or in a bad mood from whatever stresses our busy day has handed us.

If you’re like me, once you’re down, the chances of you getting up are slim. So let’s take a look at some easy and quick things we can do to revive ourselves.

  1. Put on some upbeat music. Nothing lifts a bad mood as fast as hearing Pharrell’s ‘Happy” blasting through your speakers. Whatever kind of music that lifts you up will do!   
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By Gael Woods

People everywhere, especially women, seem to feel guilty about taking time out to look after themselves. It’s OK when it’s a gym session, because that’s virtuous and ‘hard work’ – but if all we’re investing our time in is an hour or so of being relaxed beyond belief at the hands of a massage therapist, it’s as if we’re committing a deadly sin by prioritizing our own well being. 

Well, we have news for you. Your well being is important and self-care is a vital part of looking after that well being. Even if you’re a busy parent, worker or carer, you need to take time to do something good for yourself because if you are depleted and tired, you’ll have no energy to do anything for the other people who need you. You know it makes sense.

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By Gael Woods

HOW TO HAVE A STRONGER CORE.

Your core is your center of balance and strength for almost everything you do. Your core muscles are a group of muscles running down the center of your body. These include your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and your pelvis. These core muscles work together to help you maintain balance, posture, and strength.

A strong core is good for your overall health, and it can be helpful to work on strengthening this group of muscles if you suffer from any kind of lower back pain. Working on your core can help you to improve your posture, which can prevent aches and pains.

If you’re athletic, it’s wise to keep your core nice and strong because a strong set of core muscles is vital for athletic performance and helps to prevent injuries.

Can I Strengthen My Core?

It’s easy to strengthen these important muscles with a few exercises you can try at home. They also have the added benefit of helping to tone your abdominal muscles, back, glutes, and legs.

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By Lisa Poole

If you are not extremely busy in today’s society, you are the exception and not the rule. We are all in high gear; we overextend, overachieve, and overstress ourselves to the point of breaking. This can have lasting negative effects on our health! Here are a few ways to break the cycle:

Gratitude. It is so easy to be upset when things do not go our way. From the moment we spill our coffee, lock our keys in the car, and forget our lunch, a spiral of circumstances can set us off into a tailspin of negativity. We can choose to stay in a state of discontent and let that dictate our day, or we can be grateful for the other things in our lives even if they are not present in front of us right now. Did you ever notice that when something nice happens, we tend to smile for a moment and then move on? However, when something goes wrong, we feel the need to tell everyone and anyone that will listen. It is in those exact moments that we need to focus on what we are grateful for, and that is how we can instantly change our perspective and attitude. Keeping the focus on gratitude offers your mind something to smile about, regardless of outside circumstances. Focusing on people, places, and even things that make you grateful gives your mind a break from stress!

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By Lisa Poole

Pain is weird, complex and yet simple. I geek out with pain science. As soon as I think I understand it I read something new and feel a little lost again. I remember my frustration with chronic pain and the lack of information the professionals had to offer.  So I wrote down some of what I  learned and how massage may help. Remember I am no scientist, no researcher just a little ol’ MT trying to help sad 

There is a lot of research out there. This is just touching on the basics.

WHAT IS PAIN?

Pain is produced in the brain. The pain you are experiencing is due to nerve tissue in your body sending a signal to your brain. This signal is received and your brain makes a decision about whether it will be painful or not.  Pain doesn’t always reflect damage. The brain can cause pain in the absence of tissue damage. With chronic pain, the brain is still producing pain even after tissue damage is healed. To treat chronic pain you must retrain the brain and the nervous system.  You must look at what effects pain.

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By Kim Lovely, Dietitian

A healthy diet is one that consistently provides the body with the essential nutrients it needs to be well. That “diet” includes enough fluid, protein, healthy fats, whole grain carbohydrates and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)  to fully function at its best the majority of the time. Food is the best source of nutrition. Research is conflicted as to where the best sources of nutrients are but one thing in common is that nutrients do not act in isolation. For example; good bone health is dependent upon more than calcium.  Evidence from  The  Nurses Health Study- among the largest investigations ever into the risk factors for chronic diseases in women- shows that eating a serving of leafy greens or green vegetable daily cut the risk of hip fracture in half when compared to those nurses who ate leafy greens or green vegetables only weekly. A healthy serving of leafy greens or green vegetables such as broccoli, kale or Brussels sprouts provides the daily recommended intake of Vitamin K. Low levels of Vitamin K are linked with low bone density. Low bone density is linked with osteoporosis. The bottom line is that a sustainable healthy “diet” is one that provides all the vital nutrients and these are found scattered among all the food groups. Whole unprocessed carbohydrates protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. A “diet” that eliminates food groups for the purpose of weight loss cannot be defined as healthy. Likewise, any diet that reduces calories enough to impact normal activity imposes a stress on the body that will slow down metabolism guaranteeing that weight will be regained unless the diet is sustained FOREVER.

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By Lisa Poole

WHICH IS BETTER MASSAGE OR STRETCHING?

Massage and stretching are both really helpful ways to keep your muscles relaxed, reduce tension and of course help recovery after an injury. Stretching helps to get the blood flowing to your muscles, which is great if you’ve injured yourself, or if your muscles are stiff because they’ve contracted due to inactivity. Giving your muscles a really good stretch can stop your muscles from going into painful spasms or cramps, and stop the knots forming in them that take so much work to get rid of when you have a massage!

Regular massage, on the other hand, improves your flexibility and range of motion, keeping your joints more fluid and making them less injury prone in the first place.

What are the differences between massage and stretches –  and how do they work together to promote muscle and joint health?

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By Lisa Poole

There seems to be a common thread with people who exercise on a regular basis – not stretching. I am not talking about yoga folks, but runners, cyclist, and weight trainers. We (I put myself in this group) know better but when life is busy and you only have X amount of time for your workout it is so easy to blow off the stretch. I know I would rather do a few more sets of an exercise than spend 10-20 minutes stretching.

Table Thai massage and Sports massage are great ways to get in your stretching, increases flexibility and joint range of motion.  Thai massage is a therapeutic technique where compression and deep stretching are dominant. The therapist uses hands, feet, forearms, elbows, and knees to apply a combination of massage, and gentle yoga-like stretches to bring about your pain relief.  

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By Lisa Poole

WHAT CAN MASSAGE DO FOR YOU?

Massages are often sold as a purely indulgent treat that you get when you visit a spa or go on vacation, but there’s so much more to massage than just a feel-good treat. Did you know that the symptoms of many health problems can be reduced and even eliminated with regular massage? Here are a few conditions that massage can work really well on; a few you probably know and some that may surprise you!

Stress: It’s no surprise that a regular dose of massage therapy is good for your stress levels, it works by helping to lower your blood pressure, improve your quality of sleep, and by reducing your stress levels, it’s also thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease. In 2008 the journal Psycho-oncology published a study which came to the conclusion “…a significant reduction in cortisol (the main stress hormone) could be safely achieved through massage, with associated improvement in psychological well-being.”

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By Lisa Poole

DAILY STRETCHING

Having a good stretch once or twice a day feels good and can help prevent injuries (flexible muscles can do more), improve your posture (and as a result help with back pain), increase blood and nutrients to your muscles, and help you to feel less stressed.

Here’s what I do:

Spinal Stretch – lie on your back, bring your knee to your chest and then across your body. So your right knee will go over to the left side of your body. Hold this for at least 30 seconds. Then stretch the other side.1

Forward bend – Sit with your legs straight out in front of you stretch your arms up to the sky and then bend forward as far as you can.

Spinal Twist- still sitting with your legs in front of you, bend one knee to your chest then twist your body and hug your bent leg.

Other quick stretches (you can do these at your desk) Clasp your hands behind you and pull back to stretch your chest.

Hold your arm in front of your body and stretch it into your chest

Stretch your neck from side to side or do neck rolls.

I bet you are feeling better already!

Also check out You Tube for some quick stretching routines:

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How Pain Works: Links to Videos & Clips

Stretching Videos


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Karen P.'s review of Peaceful Strength Massage Therapy

16 reviews of Peaceful Strength Massage Therapy "Lisa does a wonderful and professional massage with a real focus on the individual and the problem area (s). I'm not seeking massage for stress relief (although that is an added bonus)... I actually...

Peaceful Strength Massage

 167 S River Road, Bedford, NH 03110

603-622-3571 text 603-738-6393

 lisapoole@peacefulstrengthmassage.com

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11:30 AM - 8:00 PM

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