by Donna Giamprini BSc, LMT
“April showers bring May flowers…”
How many times have we heard that old adage? Well, fun fact water IS the life force in us all!
We hydrate, moisturize, relax in hot tub and sweat in sauna but do we really understand the importance of fluid balance?
Our Lymphatic network is our natural sewer system: collecting water, picking up dead cells and debris and making for a clean circulatory system.
This marvellous system can get clogged from time to time. This is where Lymphatic drainage massage comes into play. Proper manipulation of the Lymphatic vessels and nodes can kick start a sluggish network. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) massage is recognized as the number one therapy for treating and maintaining swelling.
It is also effective in cleansing the body’s tissues of metabolic wastes, bacteria, large protein molecules and toxins; this includes long term use medications, anesthesia in post surgery recovery, and harmful or poisonous substances that have entered the body through exposure or ingestion.
Scientific studies have proven that the immune system is supported and even boosted as a result of receiving regular MLD treatments. A sluggish lymphatic system increases the chance of chronic illness and disease.
MLD is very effective in countering the body’s natural inflammatory response following soft tissue trauma. These include sprains, fractures, orthopaedic surgeries and replacements, and orthodontic surgery. As a basic rule, the less swelling that occurs, the less bruising and pain will subsequently follow. If received in a timely manner, MLD can dramatically shorten the route to recovery.
Lymphatic drainage is gentle, rhythmical, and soothes the nervous system.
I invite you to treat yourself to seasonal Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatments as a way of exercising your immune system.
Yours in health,
We all know how important it is to choose the right skincare products.
If you get your products right, they will leave your skin looking and feeling at its best. They can help to improve skin condition if you have acne, dry skin, and sensitivity or if your skin is starting to show signs of aging.
There is such a wide choice of products on the market that it can be hard to decide which one to try. Here are a few tips we’ve put together to help you select the right skincare products for your needs.
What’s your skin type and what does it need?
We recommend having a professional consultation at Ashton Wellness to truly determine your actual skin type and pick up on any specific needs you might have overlooked. An esthetician will take a really close look at your skin and help you to decide what the priorities are for your skincare routine. She may tell you something about your skin that you don’t know - for example, even if you think your skin is just a bit dry, it could be because it’s sensitive too, and you just didn’t realize that you were using products that irritated it? Changing your products to a professional range that’s specially designed for your skin type could make all the difference.
Why go professional?
There are commercials everywhere for skincare products and they all promise beautiful skin. Some are cheap and available from drugstores anywhere but the professional ranges are more expensive and exclusive, so why would you opt for a professional product? Drug store and department store beauty products can be sold by anyone, because they normally contain lower levels of active ingredients. They are cheaper because they can be easily mass produced and have a very long shelf life.
Buying from a salon, spa or esthetician means you get an extra level of recommendation – you’re not just buying from an advertising agency’s copy but you’ve got the benefit of the esthetician’s experience and training in helping you find a suitable product as well as a better quality product with better active ingredients.
Estheticians carefully research their product lines, and are educated on ingredients, how to use the different products, and will educate you on how to best take care of your skin.
What’s in a cosmeceutical?
Cosmeceuticals, sold by licensed estheticians tend to contain higher concentrations of active ingredients – only medical grade products sold by doctors are legally allowed to contain more active ingredients.
Professional skincare companies put a great deal of money into researching cosmeceuticals; they use hi-tech ingredients like peptides, enzymes, plant stem cells and vitamins. They also benefit from the most advanced latest delivery systems.
If you want to do something fantastic for your skin – book a session with one of our professional estheticians to get to know your skin properly. You don’t always have to book a facial to get professional product recommendations, although this will give your esthetician a complete look at your skin. Ashton Wellness estheticians offer product consultations and can create a customized plan for your skin based on your concerns and their expertise.
The first thing most people think of when they hear massage therapy is a luxurious relaxation, which is absolutely true! Did you know massage offers far more benefits than simply a relaxation experience? There are many advantages to massage therapy that might actually surprise you!
1. Eases Muscle Pain
If your muscles are sore, massage can really help you. Having a massage increases and improves your circulation. Increased circulation brings increased blood flow to stiff and tense muscles to help promote healing, range of motion, and flexibility.
2. Helps with Anxiety and Depression
Massage therapy has been shown to increase serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters which can help reduce feelings of anxiety and sadness. Human contact is important for people who suffer from anxiety and a nurturing touch via massage therapy is just that.
3. Gives Your Immune System a Boost
We know that people who are prone to stress are also prone to sickness and illness. With a regular massage you may see a reduction in stress and studies show that the body can often experience a boost in your systems ability to get and stay well post-massage. This is due to the increase in the activity level of the body’s white blood cells that can help a person fight off illness.
4. Assists with Headache Management
Many people, especially in our city, suffer from headaches and migraine headaches. Although everyone’s headache triggers are different, stress, muscle tension, and poor sleep are among the top triggers. With the effects of a massage sometimes lasting for weeks, people with frequent headaches should seek regular massages as each of the above triggers can be addressed in a session.
5. Reduces Blood Pressure
It has been found that regular visits to a massage therapist can indeed reduce blood pressure levels. Other studies have also cited a reduction in cortisol, which is better known as the body’s stress hormone that often leads to multiple health issues when it is in excess.
6. Improve quality of sleep
Sleep. We never seem to get enough. We struggle at night, then feel drowsy in the morning and thus the cycle of sleep deprivation begins. Regular massage sessions have been found to decrease depression and anxiety levels and improve sleep quality, often because they trigger the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can help you feel calm.
7. Sharpen focus at work and at school
Stress, depression and anxiety have been linked to an inadequate amount of serotonin and dopamine. When you increase their flow, you get a "feel good “sensation”. Inadequate levels of these endorphins can negatively affect your ability to focus.
At Ashton Wellness Massage & Spa, we recommend that everyone makes time for a monthly massage to enjoy the immediate positive as well as the cumulative long-term benefits.
Yours in health,
Donna Giamprini BSc, LMT
Donna’s avocation for natural healing modalities turned into a vocation after having spent considerable time as a caregiver for her daughter – who was battling several serious health issues. A certificate in Swedish Massage led to an interest in other forms of therapeutic massage modalities such as Lymphatic Drainage and Deep Tissue. Donna earned her bachelor’s degree in science/biology from Concordia University, received her Reiki Master certification in Usui Reiki, and is a licensed Massage Therapist. A compassionate and empathic woman, she decided to place her knowledge and talent for therapeutic healing and relaxation at the service of others. Donna believes firmly that therapeutic healing starts from within ~ helping the body and mind together, in unison.
Note: If you have serious health concerns, please speak to your health care provider.
*Today's post is written by our talented and wise massage therapist, Donna Giamprini.
If you are a woman—or care for one—listen up!
Heart disease is the leading killer of women in North America. Each year more women die of heart disease than men, yet heart disease and related risk factors are often missed in women. Symptoms of coronary artery disease and heart attack, for example, are often different in women than their male counterparts. Women are also less likely to receive optimal treatment for certain heart conditions.
During child bearing years, women’s estrogen levels are higher offering more protection to her cardio vascular system. Past child bearing years however, she is at the same or greater risk of heart disease in comparison to men of the same age.
The question is WHY?
First, and foremost if you’re like most women, she is probably so busy taking care of everyone else that her own wellbeing and health tends to fall last. This includes proper exercise, proper nutrition, stress management, sleep deprivation, etc.
Second, her symptoms are different from her male counter parts and are often mistakenly dismissed
The most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it is not always severe or even the most prominent symptom, particularly in women. And, sometimes, women may have a heart attack without chest pain. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:
Women's symptoms may occur more often when women are resting, or even when they're asleep. Mental stress also may trigger heart attack symptoms in women.
Women tend to show up in emergency rooms after heart damage has already occurred because their symptoms are not those usually associated with a heart attack, and because women may downplay their symptoms.
Heart disease risk factors for women
Although several traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease — such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity — affect women and men, other factors may play a bigger role in the
development of heart disease in women. For example, risk factors may include:
Start today to build for a better tomorrow.
So why would you want to get a stone massage, instead of just a regular massage?
To begin with, the stones' heating effect will add to the regular massage techniques to make muscle relaxation easier, faster, or deeper. And speaking of deep work, stones can help your therapist work more deeply without using so much pressure - which is good for both you and the therapist.
Relaxation can also be enhanced by placing stones over the spine. This is not an area that a massage therapist can usually treat, but stones that just sit here can have a calming effect on the entire central nervous system, not just on the muscles.
Also, massage itself usually improves circulation, but the addition of heat - through heated stones - will add to that effect.
Besides heat, stones can sometimes offer the benefits of magnet therapy, as most stones are at least somewhat magnetic.
The Swedish technique of vibration, normally done with the hands, is more easily accomplished with stones that have been clicked or tapped together and then placed on the skin.
And finally, a lot of people just say they feel more "grounded" after a stone massage. It's hard to describe, but think of it this way - if there are times when you have trouble concentrating or feel like you're going in too many directions at once, a stone massage may help you feel more focused or "down to earth."
There are times when stone massage should not be used, or should be used with caution. Be careful about getting a stone massage if you are sick or have a fever, have a heart or other circulatory condition, or have extra-sensitive skin. Keep in mind that heat will increase circulation; heated stones can increase these effects, which would not be helpful for someone with any of the above conditions. Stone massage may also not be good for children, or for pregnant or menopausal women.
Lastly, be prepared to pay more for a stone massage. It takes longer to set up and longer to do, and the massage therapist uses more equipment and supplies and needs additional training. But most people who get them say they're worth it. In fact, some say they won't ever go back to "regular massage." Stone massage is that good. Try it, and you'll see!
Benefits of Hot Stone Massage Therapy
If you’ve decided that now is the time to make a real commitment to your well being, and you’re thinking of including regular massage in your schedule, congratulations! You’ve made a real great decision.
With so many massage centers and therapists to choose from, how will you know if you’re booking in with a great therapist or just a mediocre one? Here are a few tips on choosing the very best therapist for you.
1. A fantastic massage therapist will go out of her way to make you feel relaxed and welcome when you attend for your first massage. She will ask you lots of questions and let you ask any questions that you need to, making sure that you’re put at ease right from the start.
2. Fantastic therapists maintain their energy throughout the day. It takes a strong person with great stamina to give many treatments in a row, and if you’re lucky enough to find a fantastic massage therapist, you’ll be able to trust that even if you book the very last appointment of the day, the pressure will be as strong as it needs to be and she’ll be as enthusiastic as she was when she started work.
3. Fantastic therapists know when to chat and when you just need some peace and quiet. A top quality therapist is experienced or well-trained enough to be able to spot the client who is shy and not interested in talking through a treatment, and can also accommodate the talkative client who might also be nervous but deals with their nerves by talking a lot. In that case, they might try to calm the talkative client down so that they enjoy their massage a little more!
4. Fantastic therapists always offer you a glass of water after a massage. No exceptions. While some massage therapists will advise you to go home and drink lots of water, if a therapist is really excellent she will already have a cool glass of water on hand for after your massage.
5. Fantastic massage therapists know all about great customer service. You’ll be treated like the important person you are when you work with a fantastic therapist. You’ll feel that your time and needs are respected and you’ll never feel as if you’re an inconvenience. There are always times when a therapist might run over, have to cancel or there could be another issue. The mark of a great therapist is how she deals with this; if she apologises, doesn’t try to shift responsibility and sorts out any problems with good grace, you’ve got a good one. If she blames other staff, won’t accept any responsibility and doesn’t give you confidence in her ability to deal with any issues you raise, it could be time to find a new therapist.
If your massage therapist is awesome, comment below what makes them so good…
That time of the year is getting closer!!
You will soon notice that your lashes will appear thin and sparse but don't worry it is completely natural.
Therefore you will come in a bit more often for a fill.
Why does it happen?
Those of you who own animals will see at this time of the year that their coat are starting to shed! The animal's body responds to the changes in nature (season) and so do ours! This is due to a combination of biological and atmospheric changes that take place in the environment affecting our internal body responses, things like changes in the intensity of exposure to daily sunlight!
Please do not fret! Your lashes will be back to normal when it will reestablish to the normal cycle!
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!
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.”
Lower Back Pain
This is such a common problem, often caused by bad posture at work, so no wonder many employers are drafting in massage therapists to help. Poor posture and sitting for too long can cause a lot of lower back problems, as can simply getting older. Get your massage therapist on the case and you can hopefully wave goodbye to a sore back.
Fitness and sport are great for your health but they can sometimes lead to injuries and overworked muscles. A regular massage can help to heal any wear and tear on your muscles and tendons, and can also help you manage the pain from a chronic or acute sports injury. Having well looked-after muscles may also help prevent future injuries – one more reason to book those regular sessions.
Massage can be a blessed relief for people dealing with the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other joint problems. Research published in 2013 in the Complementary Therapy in Clinical Practice journal said that people with rheumatoid arthritis reported some relief from pain and stiffness after four once-a-week moderate-pressure massages, topped up with self-massage at home in between treatments. Massage can also help with your range of motion and flexibility, which can relieve pain in your shoulders, knees, and hips.
There are a whole range of health problems that can be caused by bad circulation, so it figures that boosting your circulation will be a bonus for your whole body. Regular massage helps to get the blood moving, getting essential nutrients to where they are needed in your tissues and vital organs much faster. The squeezing and pulling actions involved in a good massage also help to flush lactic acid out of
your muscles and improve the circulation of lymph - the fluid that carries metabolic waste away from your muscles and internal organs.
Nobody really knows what causes migraines, and there isn’t a cure, but if you’re a migraine sufferer you’ll be pleased to hear that studies have shown that massage can help reduce the frequency of attacks, and lessen the severity of the symptoms. Some migraines, especially those triggered by stress, are especially receptive to massage treatment.
A massage helps to stimulate lymph flow around your body, which boosts your immune system and can help to reduce the severity of allergic reactions. Sometimes a therapist might be able to tell just from your lymph nodes if you are an allergy sufferer as they can feel tender or swollen.
Did any of those surprise you? Of course, you don’t need to make an excuse for wanting a massage, but if you are dealing with any of these health issues, it’s good to know that your regular massage habit is helping.
Sometimes it can be confusing – you know you’re stressed and everybody tells you that you need a good massage, but what type of massage should you get? There are so many options available, how do you know which one will suit you?
That’s where your friendly massage therapist comes in – if you’re not sure, just call or drop in for a chat and we can help you find the perfect technique and style for your needs. If it’s your first massage, too, we can put you at ease and make sure you know exactly what to expect.
In the meantime, here’s the lowdown on some of the different types of massage and what they can do for you.
This is one of the most popular massages – it’s sometimes called the ‘relaxation massage’ which is a clue; it’s absolutely great for getting rid of stress and anxiety. It’s also a good one to try if you’re new to massage as it doesn’t work too deeply into your muscles and the techniques we use are all designed to relax and de-stress.
So what can you expect? Well, we use long, flowing strokes all over your body, combined with kneading, tapping and circular motions. We’ll also use oils or lotions to make the massage smoother, and feel great for you. If you’ve got tight muscles, aches and pains, we can increase the pressure where you need it more. Swedish massage is helpful if you’re experiencing pain from conditions like sciatica and arthritis, and it can also give your circulation a boost as all the techniques are designed to help get blood pumping around your body.
Hot Stone Massage
This is a supremely relaxing massage where the therapist uses specially designed warmed stones to increase its effects. This one is designed for pure relaxation and is an indulgent treatment that’s also great for first-timers. While you’re enjoying your massage, we carefully place the smooth, heated stones on different areas of your body. Sometimes they are also used as part of the massage to help get deeper into any troublesome areas; the heat from the stones helps loosen the muscles even more. This one will leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
Deep Tissue Massage
This is more of a remedial massage than a relaxing one; ideal for anyone who does a lot of sports or has very tight muscles. It can feel uncomfortable as your therapist will work deeply into your muscles and connective tissues to release any tension in them. It can feel slightly painful although people tend to describe it as a ‘good hurt’ – and you may feel a bit of soreness afterwards, especially if it’s your first deep tissue massage. Most people agree that it’s worth it as you’ll feel amazing afterwards!
With so many different massages to try, why not try them all?
Ashton Wellness Massage & Spa