I  was recently asked by a client if I knew whether massage can help with weight loss. I felt this was a great question and started my quest for an answer.  It turns out that massage, when used as a supportive technique, can be a great way to achieve your weight loss goals. But let’s be clear: to lose weight you need to exercise more, reduce calories, and eat high quality foods. No massage will help you if you’re not doing those things. But like supplements, specific eating regimens, and other techniques, massage falls into the area of a number of things you can to help optimize your body’s capacity to lose weight.  Here’s how it helps. Controlling Hormones.Cortisol is the stress hormone. When you’re stressed out and your body is flooded with cortisol, this causes an appetite spike. Not just for any food, but specifically the carbs and sweets that are more likely to be taken directly to your fat cells rather than used as energy in muscle tissue.  And can you guess where this kind of “stress fat” tends to accumulate?

That’s right, your tummy, which is already a problem spot for many people. Regular massage can greatly decrease levels of cortisol in your body, which in turn will allow for better control of your appetite. What you want instead of cortisol is serotonin, the happiness hormone, not because it makes your mood better (although it does, which is a nice side-benefit) but because it is a natural appetite suppressant in your body. With more serotonin, you feel satisfied even though your stomach isn’t full, you have fewer cravings and less binging, and you’re actually happy about it! Massage has been clinically shown to increase serotonin levels. Massage that focuses on stress-relief and relaxation can be enhanced by the right aromatherapy products put into service during the session.

Flushing Out Toxins. Environmental toxins can wreak havoc on your metabolism and cause weight gain. Much of the highly processed foods offered in grocery stores are full of toxins in the form of byproducts, preservatives, and chemicals. The air we breathe and the water we drink can also be sources of toxins. Their primary impact seems to be that they interfere with our ability to regulate blood sugar levels and metabolize cholesterol. This can contribute to insulin resistance and the eventual onset of diabetes. The plain fact of the matter is that our bodies are under a constant barrage of chemicals that can have deleterious effects on our health. The good news is that we can help our bodies flush out the toxins, and having a regular massage is a primary way to do that. Regular massage will assist the body in releasing toxins.  The key is to drink plenty of water after each session. (see blog post dated February 17, 2013)

So maybe it can be considered an aid to help you achieve weight loss, but ultimately, I believe it is more a combination of what you eat and exercise that will move the scale.

Essential oils that may be beneficial for a person wishing to loose weight:

Slim and Sassy, Grapefruit, Elevation, and Patchouli.

Wishing you Peace, Harmony and Balance.





Not feeling your best and not sure why? Might be time to detox.

You don’t have to go on a detox diet or drink special smoothies to detox. Start with a massage to kick-start your body’s own natural cleansing processes, which can slow down for a variety of reasons — lack of regular exercise, too little fluids or fiber in the diet … If you haven’t been taking the best care of yourself, a detoxifying massage can help set things right again.

How does massage help the body detox, exactly?

The rhythmic strokes and pressure applied to muscles, tissues and organs during massage therapy help stimulate the circulatory system. It works sort of like a sponge: When pressure is applied to the tissue and fat, toxins are literally “squeezed” out from in between the muscle fibers and cells. They’re released into the circulatory system for easier elimination.

The lymph system is key

Your lymphatic fluid system works with your cardiovascular circulatory system to flush out toxins and carry immune cells throughout the body to help defend against infections. If your lymph fluid circulation gets sluggish, toxins can accumulate and immune cells may not get carried to the areas of the body where they’re needed.

Since the lymph system doesn’t have a big central pump like the heart to keep things moving, it has to rely on gravity, exercise, breathing … and massage. So if you haven’t been as good as you should about your exercise, diet and “me time” routine (it happens to the best of us!), that can affect how you feel, causing aches, pains and swelling (lymph edema). It can also cause deterioration in organs and glands like the thymus that are vital players in your immune system.

It’s easy to see why detoxification is important to avoiding illness and chronic health conditions. So if you’re not feeling your best or haven’t been as good about your diet and exercise routine lately, try a massage to get back on track. Remember to drink a glass or two of pure water after massage to help the body flush out toxins more rapidly.

Essential oils that may be beneficial for a detoxification would be helichrysum and/or rosemary.

Wishing you Peace, Harmony and Balance





Once people discover the many joys and benefits of massage, a common question arises — “How often should I schedule my massage sessions?” Of course, there is no set answer, but studies indicate that massage at regular intervals is most beneficial to your overall health.

In a Newsweek article entitled “The Magic of Touch,” the advantages of frequent massage are considered. The following excerpts help to answer the question, “How often?”

“A weekly massage may seem an indulgence, but new research suggests it can have major health benefits….

“Since instituting a program of massage, job-specific exercises and ergonomics in 1990, the Virginia-based company [Wampler Foods] has cut repetitive-stress injuries by 75 percent….

“From assembly lines to corporate headquarters, Americans are discovering the magic of massage. At Boeing and Reebok, headaches, back strain and fatigue have all fallen since the companies started bringing in massage therapists . . . Doctors have started prescribing massage to help patients manage stress and pain. And a few HMO’s have begun sharing in the cost. ‘Massage is medicine, not merely an indulgence,’ says Laura Favin of Not Just a Luxury Onsite Massage in New York….

“Scientists are now finding that massage can reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system, dampen harmful stress hormones and raise mood-elevating brain chemicals such as serotonin. And you can’t beat massage for relaxation. Babies fall asleep faster when massaged than when rocked — and they stay asleep, rather than waking the moment Mom tiptoes away. All these factors, says Tiffany Field, founder of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, ‘put massage in the same category with proper diet and exercise as something that helps maintain overall health.’ …

“The effects aren’t always so straightforward. Massage can also stimulate nerves that carry signals from the skin to the brain, triggering changes throughout the body…. Field showed that massage (as opposed to light touch) stimulates the brain’s vagus nerve, causing the secretion of food-absorption hormones, including insulin. Nerve stimulation probably explains other benefits as well…. Dr. James Dillard of Columbia University [says], ‘Every nerve cell in the body has some connection to every other nerve cell.’ …

“Like exercise, massage does more for you if you engage in it regularly… even a monthly treatment can help maintain general health. ‘Touch is basic to survival,’ says Elliot Greene, past president of AMTA [American Massage Therapy Assn.]. That’s all the excuse anyone should need to indulge.”

Remember, your body strives to maintain optimum health by keeping all of its systems in balance. Along with proper nutrition, exercise and rest, massage relaxes tense muscles and stimulates the body’s communication lines to help it do its job — and to keep you feeling your best. So, make regular massage a priority in your life for a healthier tomorrow!

Wishing you Peace, Harmony and Balance.



While some of us would like to have a cause of weight problems other than overconsumption and under-exertion, the thyroid is a source for many metabolic problems for many frustrated people. The thyroid gland is located on the front part of the neck below the thyroid cartilage and produces thyroid hormones, which regulate body metabolism, as well as regulate body energy, the body’s use of other hormones and vitamins, and the growth and maturation of body tissues.

Hypothyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone. Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are often subtle but steadily progressive. The result of not being able to convert fuel into energy means that a person gains weight, feels fatigued and depressed, and has a sluggish digestive system with chronic constipation.

It can be a struggle to treat the symptoms of any thyroid condition, since thyroid conditions aren’t well-understood or easy to treat. There are many medical treatments to control thyroid symptoms, but it may be an uphill battle that you will be fighting long after your symptoms have been controlled with medication. Some people think of problems of the thyroid as a general problem of toxicity.

Alternate treatments like massage could be an appropriate choice for someone suffering with hypothyroidism, partially because massage can improve the quality of life of people who feel chronically drained. For many patients who are struggling to gain control over their weight, massage therapy can be extremely helpful. Massage therapy can help in the removal of toxins accumulated in a person dealing with a hypothyroid.

While it’s vitally important that you adhere closely to the regimen of prescription medication your doctor has established for you, you may find that looking for other options to supplement your ongoing medical treatment can help you regain a sense of wellness. Make sure you tell your therapist about your thyroid condition before your first session so they can plan a treatment sequence based on your unique profile.

Essential oils that may be beneficial for a person suffering from Hypothyroidism:

Clove, Myrrh and Peppermint

Wishing you Peace, Harmony and Balance.




Sleep is an important aspect of health and well-being. Though there doesn’t seem to be any magic number concerning the amount of sleep people require, getting too little is associated with a number of medical conditions, and can negatively impact a person’s overall health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression—which threaten our nation’s health. Notably, insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome.

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that massage, in many forms, supports good quality sleep. The mechanism by which massage helps to establish a more organized sleep pattern isn’t fully understood, but studies consistently report that subjects who are massaged (with a variety of modalities) experience deeper, more restorative, less disturbed sleep, and a reduction in pain-sensitizing neurotransmitters. The bodywork doesn’t have to take place directly before sleep either; clients report better sleep even several hours after receiving massage.

Finally, as healthcare providers, massage therapists are also healthcare role models. Perhaps the most positive effect we can have on our clients is to walk the talk. It takes a certain discipline to organize one’s day to include at least eight hours of time to sleep–it is so tempting to stay up an extra hour for a little time alone (or with the TV or computer). And yet, I encourage us all to practice good sleep hygiene: be consistent about reserving enough time for adequate sleep; keep a sleeping room that is quiet and not too hot, too cold, or too bright; remove irritating stimuli from that environment (that might include the decades-old feather pillow that probably has more dust mites than feathers in it); exercise, but not too close to bedtime; and avoid both stimulants and depressants close to bedtime.

On a personal note, the more I learn about health, the more committed I am to sleep as a central organizing principle on which to build a healthy lifestyle. There is no shortcut to good quality sleep. In our fast-paced, instant-gratification, isn’t-there-a-pill-for-that world, we must buck the trend to support ourselves with good food, consistent exercise, and–maybe most importantly–good sleep.

Essential oils that may be beneficial for a person suffering from insomnia:

Lavender, Orange and Roman Chamomile

Wishing you Peace, Harmony and Balance

















About 2 percent of Americans have fibromyalgia. That’s 4.8 million tired, sore people. Only osteoarthritis is more common among joint diseases. FMS makes up more than 5 percent of the patients in general medical practice, and accounts for 10 to 30 percent of all rheumatology consultations.

FMS occurs in women of childbearing age at a rate 7 to 10 times more frequently than men. Signs point to FMS being a disease of aging, as well, with only 1 percent of 20-year-old women suffering and more than 7 percent developing the disease by age 70. The median age of onset is 29 to 37 years old, with the median age of diagnosis falling between 34 and 53. During the 5 to 15 year gap between onset and diagnosis, sufferers are often confused, frantic and desperate.

The typical patient is a 40-year-old female with a history of insomnia and a recent physical or emotional traumatic episode. Clinicians also observe that she is dry, thin of frame and cold, with a lifetime tendency toward constipation.

Because FMS produces no definitive laboratory results, the diagnosis is one of exclusion. When all other possibilities have been excluded, FMS is what is left. The nomenclature is dense and confusing, but FMS is officially diagnosed when the following symptoms are detected:

  • A history of widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body, on both sides and above and below the waist, that is present for a minimum of three months.
  • Pain in at least 11 of the 18 identified tender-point sites

Some researchers contend the latter is the most common, and for FMS sufferers the most bothersome, symptom. This “fibro fog” is marked by feelings of confusion, memory lapse, word mix-ups and concentration difficulties.

Massage, properly performed, seems particularly helpful in treating fibromyalgia. Patients consistently report that they find bodywork to be the top therapy for providing short-term relief and long-term improvement.

In an effort to find out just what actually does help people feel better, German scientists examined various therapies and concluded that massage was ranked in the top four for patient satisfaction.

A study in the European Journal of Pain evaluated connective tissue massage. The researchers treated 23 FMS patients and compared them to 23 controls. The subjects received a series of 15 connective tissue massage sessions, which reduced depression and use of pain medication and improved quality of life. The massage benefits gradually increased over the 10-week study, eventually reducing pain by 37 percent. Take note, though, that the patients’ pain had gradually climbed back to about 90 percent of the original level six months post-study.

And therein lies the problem.  When pain is involved being consistent can prove difficult for some FMS sufferers.

Along with massage therapy, a regular exercise routine is absolutely required for FMS sufferers, and many studies confirm the benefits.

Exercise in warm water seems to be particularly beneficial. A recent waist-high warm water exercise study cites long-term lowered pain and increased strength.  A study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine found that warm water exercise provided long-term physical and mental progress.

FMS sufferers often receive substantial benefits from yoga and relaxation techniques.  In a six-week randomized pilot study, researchers adapted a yoga program for FMS chronic back pain. The participants demonstrated improved balance and flexibility, and were less disabled and depressed. The group setting encouraged better body awareness and improved relaxation.

Tai chi can also be a good exercise choice in FMS. Two tai chi classes weekly for six weeks improved symptoms and quality of life for 39 patients in one study.

Pain, combined with difficult diagnosis and treatment, makes FMS a frustrating disease, to say the least. However, we all have great reason to be optimistic that as we integrate all the developments of recent years, FMS sufferers will one day soon find long-lasting relief.

Essential oils that may be beneficial for a person suffering from fibromyalgia:

Deep Blue,  Wintergreen or Helichrysum

Wishing  you Peace, Harmony and Balance





Migraines. We’ve all heard of them, and most of us probably know at least one person who suffers from them. But what is a migraine exactly?

Migraines are not just another headache. Experts used to believe migraines were precipitated by changes in the dilation of blood vessels. But it’s now believed that there is more to it than that.   The migraine pain occurs when the trigeminal nerve is stimulated and releases chemicals that can irritate the blood vessels on the brain’s surface and cause the vessels to swell. This swelling sends pain signals to the brain-stem, and the migraine pain begins. Migraine pain can be felt anywhere in the head and is most often experienced on one side, but the pain can also be felt in the face, jaw or neck. An acute migraine attack may make sufferers sensitive to anything touching their head, so massage therapy involving the head may be contraindicated in some clients during the acute attack. There is currently no test to confirm the diagnosis of migraine, so physicians must rely on their patients’ self-reports about the characteristics of their pain and the related symptoms in order to make the diagnosis of migraine.

HELPING WITH STRESS. One trigger that massage is likely to help combat is stress. Massage helps reduce stress and, in turn, may help reduce migraine frequency, severity and duration. While eliminating anxiety and related stress altogether isn’t realistic, massage can help your clients reduce and manage stress. Reduced stress levels can:

• Decrease anxiety

• Enhance sleep quality

• Increase energy levels

• Improve concentration

• Increase circulation

• Reduce fatigue

Anxiety, sleep problems and stress are all known triggers of migraine that massage therapy can help relieve.

 A study published by the International Journal of Neuroscience showed that body massage can decrease the occurrence of headaches, sleep disturbances, and symptoms of distress and increase serotonin levels in adults with migraines. How and why does this happen?

The theories are that there are two mechanisms potentially responsible for the improvements and increased hormone levels. First, increased serotonin may help relieve headache pain. Serotonin is a component of many pain-relieving medications. Second, increased sleep hours and improved quality of sleep may lower levels of Substance P. Substance P is a neurotransmitter that is believed to be an important element in pain perception. So put together, an increase in serotonin, which can help relieve pain, and substance P, which can alter pain perception, and you may have an excellent, naturally-occurring cocktail of pain relief, which is a great benefit for those who suffer from migraine pain.

Essential oils that may be beneficial for a person suffering from migraines:

Peppermint, Basil, Wintergreen and Ylang Ylang.  doTERRA also has some blends which would be very beneficial:  Past Tense and Deep Blue.

Wishing you Peace, Harmony and Balance.




“Why Do I Feel So Good After A Massage?

“Why Do I Feel So Good After A Massage?”

This came to me from a client after her weekly massage and I really identified with it and hope you do as well!

“I walk into the session thinking, ‘I’m really too busy to take this time. I’ve
got to make those phone calls, schedule the next meeting, write that article, do
the laundry, clean my house, and run a few errands. Oh, but my shoulders do
hurt, my back aches, and I didn’t get enough sleep last night!’ An hour later,
walking in slow motion, I come out of the massage therapist’s office. I notice
the smell of fresh air and the warmth of sunshine on my face. ‘Maybe I’ll just
go for a little walk. I’ll get back to work soon enough,’ I say.

“Massage provides me an opportunity to take a break
from the stresses of life and relax in the caring hands of a competent
therapist. With just the right amount of pressure and skillful manipulation,
patterns of tension are released in overworked muscles, fascia is loosened in
areas of strain, and lymph is encouraged in its circulation. These effects on
the tissues give rise to sensations of pleasure, creating a new experience in my
body. I can only begin to imagine the complex of effects on the neurochemical
system of the body, as touch receptors carry messages to the brain for
interpretation, influencing brain wave patterns and a myriad of hormonal

“While the physiology may be complex, the
value of the human interaction is simple. Someone just treated me with respect
and care, listened to me without judging me, and touched me with the authority
born of her training and experience. It’s no wonder we feel so good after a

Wishing you Peace, Harmony and Balance.





While couples’ massages are becoming increasingly popular, many people still are unsure of what to expect and what exactly a  couples’ massage entails.  To put it simply , it involves two people experiencing massage treatments at the same time in the same room.  Many spas will have a room set up specifically for this purpose, with two massage tables next to each other so wives and husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends and same- sex partners can enjoy this relaxing time together.

The first benefit of a couples’ massage is quite obvious:  it provides the couple an opportunity to relax while the therapists provide massage strokes specific to the couple’s desires.

The second benefit is the sometime surprising communication boost between partners.  Many couples report being able to speak more openly and honestly with their significant other after a couples, massage.   It provides time for a relaxed conversation which paves the way for a wonderful union between the pair.

Many new to this experience may feel a tad uncomfortable, but again, having a partner there to provide companionship and solidarity is key.

Quick note: many couples prefer to experience a couples, massage on their own without the therapist there, but the therapists are essential.  This is one of the main reasons why couples cannot open up to one another.  Think of the therapist as a silent mediator:  allow them to do all the work, relaxing sore muscles, kneading pressure points, providing aromatherapy experiences while you let down your guard, ease your tensions and open up to the person on the table next to you.

Many spas offer great couples’ massage packages, some  oriented towards romance, some towards self-reflection, and some for special occasions.  However you choose to experience this rare treat it is well worth the time and money!

The health benefits of massage address many of our modern ills:  assisting with circulation, deepening and slowing respiration, reducing heart charge and blood pressure, as well as reducing secretion of stress hormones and increasing people feel-good hormones, endorphins.  Couples’  massage can be a fantastic escape for you and your loved one. It serves as an opportunity for you both to reduce the stress of your crazy work lives and indulge in the time you have for your personal lives.  It is a great liaison between work and home and can help you place boundaries between your piles of paperwork and your weekend play.  Massage can be a great opportunity to bond as it sets aside time to talk to your partner and catch up, or it can be an opportunity to enjoy a relaxing moment at the same time.  It can be a great benefit that you both leave at the same time feeling relaxed and renewed.

There are many reported benefits of couples’ massage, and  benefits of  massage in general, that can enhance your love life.  Massage has been proven beneficial for increasing circulation, flexibility and energy,  which can be great for spicing up your intimate moments .   It also has been known to reduce stress and can therefore minimize stress arguments.

Couples’ massage is not only for love interests:   many people  enjoy massages with their mothers or best friends and see it as a wonderful opportunity to prepare for stressful events.  It has become popular to enjoy group massages with your bridesmaids before the big day and has become a common gift for the bride and groom to enjoy in the weeks after wedding. Some couples find it a great benefit to schedule massages near the due date of their child’s birth as a pre-natal massage can lead to a shorter time in labor and a more relaxed father and mother.  Next time you need a romantic getaway, or you want to schedule an exciting rendezvous consider the benefits of couples’ massage. Allow the well-trained hands of a massage therapist to melt away your pain and stress.


Wishing you Peace, Harmony and Balance






 Massage is touted as one of the first treatments available for depression. However, with the advances in science and technology in the 1940s and beyond, the treatment of massage for depression soon became replaced by drugs and other  seemingly  more scientific therapies.  While massage remains a viable alternative, it fails to garner the same attention as more publicized treatments such as pharmaceuticals.

A review of more than a dozen massage studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine concludes that massage therapy relieves depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry. In a series of studies including about 500 men, women, and children with depression or stress problems, researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage and found that the therapy lowered levels by up to 53%. (Cortisol can drive up blood pressure and blood sugar levels, precipitate fat storage,  and suppress the immune system.) Massage also increased serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that help reduce depression.

The scientific community has acknowledged that anxiety intensifies several types of chronic, potentially fatal diseases. As more irrefutable evidence links anxiety disorders to heart, respiratory and digestive diseases, anxiety relief is becoming more important than ever. Massage therapy has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to reduce anxiety levels within the medical research model. Thus, bodywork is emerging as one of the most valuable  and viable therapies for addressing the concurrence of emotional and physical health.

Essential oils that can be beneficial in massage for people suffering from depression and anxiety are:





Wishing you Peace, Harmony and Balance.