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The Positive Physical and Psychological Effects of Body Massage

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Any massage, be it sports therapy or an ayurvedic spa, effects four systems of a body. Namely,

  1. Physical

  2. Physiological

  3. Neurological

  4. Psychological

All four are connected. The skilled movement of the hands of a masseuse creates the first effect, i.e., physical which in turn triggers the other three. With every stroke, rub, squeeze or compression of the skin the muscles lying below have neurological, functional or psychological change.

The response of the body to a massage therapy depends on the type of motion, i.e., the technique and the time for which it is done. The depth, speed, frequency and the part of the body that is massaged factor in deciding the extent of the benefits, also. First, let’s take a look at the physical reactions to a massage.

What are the physical benefits of a body massage therapy?

The muscles in a body have a lot of flexibility. They can extend and contract to a significant degree. It is the connecting tissue that lies around them that limits the movement. One way to increase the extensibility of connective tissue is through massages. Continuous kneading or wringing can loosen (plus stretch) the tissues that are present near muscles. Additionally, rigorous movements increase blood circulation to the area and heat it which makes the tissue pliable.

When performed regularly, massage can cause:

  • Lengthening of muscle fibres

  • Changes in connective tissue

  • Improve flexibility

These physical changes in the body lead to the following advantages:

  • The range of motion in the joints of a body increase because the muscles are relaxed.
  • Swelling that has happened due to leaking of blood or other fluids from vessels and capillaries can be reduced. The massage stimulates the flow of lymph plus increases the temperature of the soft tissue which causes the reabsorption of the leaked fluid and hence decreases in swelling.
  • Any muscle that is holding tension can be relieved by stroking action of a massage. The motion stimulates the receptors present on nerve ending which can then either result in muscle relaxation or tightening. The effect is reflexive meaning it happens automatically in the muscles because of the massage.

What are the psychological reactions of a massage?

Before diving into the psychological advantages of massage, one thing should be made clear. The biological or physiological outcomes are deeply related with the mental effects of therapy. When the muscles relax, a more peaceful state of the brain is automatically achieved. The vice versa also applies. When the psychological feedback says to let go of the tension in the mind, the muscles in the body relax too.

Some of the psychological compensations that can be achieved through massage are:

  • Pain relief: A massage reduces muscle tension which decreases the pressure on nerve ending which leads to lowered pain. As some of the pain lessens, the perception of it is also altered which further reduces it. The cycle keeps repeating. Therefore, sports therapy is continuously used to manage injuries in athletes and speed up rehabilitation.
  • Anxiety: Physical relaxation of the body and relief from pain consequently leach away the anxiety a body holds.

What are the biological results of spa therapy?

The effects of a Thai massage are not limited to the brain and the physical body. The biological functions within also see positive outcomes. When massages are done with pressure and in-depth, they compress and release blood vessels which increases blood circulation. Even the lymph flow to the heart can be heightened by giving prolonged massages to specific areas of the body. Two techniques by which lymph can be stimulated to flow to body extremities are kneading and deep stroking.

When the blood flow increases in the body, the oxygen available to soft tissues also rises along with the accessibility of nutrients. When lymph flow increases, the body’s capability to remove waste products from the lymphatic system also grows. The flow of blood and lymph is achieved by stimulating the nerves. This results in dilation of blood vessels that leads to more blood circulation, higher temperature, increase in elasticity of muscles, better delivery of oxygen and nutrients.

The last benefit of massage is neurological. By certain motions, a massage therapist can induce reflex actions in the body. These actions have a sedative effect. One such move is rubbing a painful area. The movement stimulated the nerve endings in the location which send the signal to stop the feeling of pain. This happens by blocking the transmission of signals to the spinal cord. In simple terms, a massage decreases pain in the body by affecting the nervous system.

A Succinct Summation

The gist is that massage of diverse kinds can be utilised to reduce pain, take away anxiety, stimulate blood and oxygen flow. It can also be employed to reduce swelling and increase the range of motion. An excellent body therapy can either take you to a relaxed state or make it more active. What the effect of a massage should be is decided by the physical and mental needs of the person.

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Beauty

Beaucaire – A Former Beauty

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Beaucaire is a small Provencal town situated on the banks of the Rhone river. There is evidence of a Gallo-Roman settlement in this hilly area as early as 11 B.C.. The ancient community gave way to a medieval town in 1067 and the establishment of a castle in 1180. The name Beaucaire translates into beautiful stone, most likely a reference to the limestone found in the area. One Sunday, we headed out for a short afternoon of exploring and a bit of history. The town of Beaucaire is located in the “Golden Triangle” of Avignon, Arles and Nîmes, all much larger cities with extensive historical monuments. The town of Beaucaire is bordered on one side by the Rhone river, and on another by the Rhone-Sète canal. Unfortunately, the town is not nearly as enthralling as the bigger centres in the region and clearly not as well-maintained.

The remains of the castle are impressive, even as a shadow of its former size. Standing in the open area after the entrance, one can begin to imagine the immense presence that once stood on this hilly promontory. Entry to the castle is free and guided tours are available in a limited fashion. The view of the Rhone river from the top is worth the short climb. However, in our opinion we found that overall the site condition was poor, as compared to other historical monuments in the region. The town itself is not terribly large, and it is worth the time for a short stroll through the old streets. In the historical section, one begins to get a feel for what this centre may have been like during the days when the castle occupied 26 hectares and the numerous mansion houses were at their prime. The height of prominence for this centre was in the 18th century when the Madeleine’s Fair, which is still held each July 21st, reached 250,000 attendees. However, over time as the importance of the fair declined, and commerce shifted to other centres, the influence of Beaucaire has declined. The town has some historical buildings that are appealing, unfortunately, though not as impressive as those found in many other larger cities. Even the tourist signage information panels have seen better days, as we found that many were broken or graffiti-ed. The updated port area on the Rhone-Sète canal apparently can hold up to 200 vessels. This is a bit of a stretch of the imagination or certainly a triumph of logistics. Even many of the nearest cafes seem to make a minimal effort to complement the waterway.

My husband had visions of an afternoon nap at this point, but he was out of luck. Just a few kilometres away from Beaucaire is the Abbaye de Saint-Roman. This monastery dates from the 5th century. It was a hermit settlement and occupied by monks until 1538. The entire structure was literally carved out of the limestone on the hill. The structure is the only troglodyte monastery in Europe, where literally the occupants lived like cavemen in the rock. A castle was built on top of the former monastery after 1538. It was only after the destruction of the castle that the former religious structure was uncovered. The abbey was classified as a French state monument in 1990 and the oldest monastery in the country. The striking elements of this visit were, the beautiful view of the Rhone river over the ancient tombs, the incredible amount of hard labor required to build the structure and the simplicity of life that existed within the walls.

The challenge faced by Beaucaire and other small centres, is that the entire region has a such a rich and complex history, it is difficult to attract the necessary attention and funding. The Beaucaire tourist office maintains an informative website. However, it is short-sighted that the parking in front of their office is by permit only! It is potentially unfair to deny yourself a visit to Beaucaire. Certainly, it will never have the same crowds as the larger centres like Avignon. If you do go, do not miss the Abbaye de Saint-Roman as it is truly worth a reflective visit.

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Beauty

How To Get Ready in 15 Minutes in the Morning

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Here are my schedule on how I can get ready in 15 minutes every morning, of course this is when you are in a rush as I usually am especially getting ready to go to work. But I hope it helps.

7am- Alarm clock goes off, get out of bed into the bathroom.

7.01- Toilet, I am probably lucky I only need to do a number one in the mornings, sorry if this is too much information.

7.02 – Get your toothbrush out and out some toothpaste on, brush your teeth for 3 minutes, I use a electric toothbrush that has a 3miunte timer. Rinse mouth after use.

7.05 – Fill the sink with warm water and lather face wash in your hands and rub over face. Then rinse and pat dry with a clean soft towel.

7.07 – Back in the bedroom. Now the bathroom is free for the next person. Put moisturiser cream onto your face and let it sink in while you get changed

7.08 – Get changed into your day clothes which should have been picked put and laid out the night before including underwear, tights and shoes.

7.10 – Now carefully apply your make up, as time is tight choose 2-3 areas that you wouldn’t walk out of the house without. My two are eyebrows must be drawn in and blusher. You will need to get this done within 5 minutes it takes me 3minutes.

7.13 – Brush hair, quickly style if you need to i.e. clips, ponytail, hairspray etc.

7.15 – You should now be ready to go, so all you need to do is grab your bag and jacket and head out of the door!

The schedule above is my most day schedule on how I get ready in 15 minutes in the morning and this is what I do exactly when I need to get ready to go to work. On nights out it be nothing like this!

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Perfume, Cologne – What’s the Difference?

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“Perfume counters” are stocked with a wide selection of perfumes intended to accentuate the human scent. Many of these counters are found in pharmacies, fine department stores or online outlets. The expression “perfume counter” is a loose term to define these products since many of these so-called perfumes are really just cheap imitations of the true perfume. Many of these variations are not nearly as pure as the look-alike discount brand version of the designer scent, with a label that resembles the true name brand.

What, after all, is a perfume? Essential oils that are extracted from various plants form the base for a perfume. Remember the famous gold, frankincense and myrrh that the Three Wise Men carried to the baby Jesus? Frankincense was a fragrant resin of a tree that grew in East Africa that ancient people would burn for its scent like we burn candles for aromatherapy. Myrrh was also a gum resin that was obtained from the bark of a different tree from East Africa. One of the uses of myrrh in ancient days was to make perfume and an early form of toothpaste.

Since a true perfume consists of a secret recipe of essential oils and various ingredients that permit the liquid to be poured into an atomizer or other types of containers, a parfum or pure perfume will have the highest concentration of oils. Due to this greater amount of scented essential oils, the perfume’s scent will be longer lasting and stronger. A little bit of parfum is all it takes to maintain its alluring aroma for hours. The high price of true perfume is the result of the high concentration of oils.

To make up for the high cost, many perfume makers water down their signature parfum versions and sell at a much lower price to a broader market of customers. However, the watered-down cheaper brands aren’t nearly as long lasting as the true version.

There are several standard categories of perfume derivatives that are generally sold. The product closest to a perfume is called Eau de Parfum. “Eau” is the French word for water so this product is simply a true perfume mixed with extra water. Now a perfume company executive would cringe at this crude explanation but basically this is the translation of the name from the French. The next product down the list is an Eau de Toilette followed by an Eau de Cologne, known simply as “cologne”. If the brand name of perfume is sold in all these categories, the perfume is the most expensive and the cologne should be the least expensive.

Since everyone’s body chemistry is different, fragrances smell differently on different people. Scents don’t have the same aroma since people’s skin types are different. For example, dry skin doesn’t hold scents as long. However, natural body oil will hold a fragrance longer since the perfume can blend with it easier. Before purchasing a perfume, it is always best to test it to determine how it blends with your body chemistry for a desired fragrance.

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