The Studio Durham House Blog | Exercise and Holistic Health

Yoga at Durham House

There are vast amounts of literature available that discuss the benefits of exercise on everything from your physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual health.  At The Studio Durham House we offer a range of weekly group classes; including yoga, flexicore, pilates and barre, as well as regular workshops and courses that can support one or more pillars of
your overall holistic health.

In today’s blog we look at the key benefits of taking part in regular group exercise on your health and well-being.

Group training for mental health. 

As far back as the early 80’s scholars were looking at the benefit of physical activity on mental health. Researchers  Folkins & Sime  found that physical fitness training leads to improved mood, self-concept, and work behaviour; whilst the evidence was less clear as to its effects on cognitive functioning, although it does appear to bolster cognitive performance
during and after physical stress. Further research in the mid 80’s by Barre-Taylor, Sallis & Needle suggested that physical activity and exercise probably alleviates some symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression.

Nowadays many organisations promote the benefits of regular exercise on our sense of self, ability to function well individually or in relationships, deal with the ups and downs of life, cope with challenges and making the most of opportunities. Regular exercise has been suggested to give us control and freedom over our lives and give us a sense of purpose and value, which is turn connects us to our community and surroundings.

Exercise and physical health.

In addition to the benefits of exercise on mental health, exercise and physical health are extremely well documented. Exercise, play and sport all constitute physical activity and all have a part to play in your physical health. This can include the management of body composition, the ability to move correctly, and being in control of your body. Furthermore, the exercise has been found to combat health conditions and diseases.

Researchers suggest that no matter what your current weight is, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including, strokes, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and arthritis.

Exercise and intellectual health

Firstly, when you are describing intellectual health you are referring to having the ability to use the resources available to expand one’s knowledge, improve one’s skills, and create potential for sharing with others.

Countless studies have shown that regular physical activity and fine-tuned motor skills benefit cognitive function beginning in infancy and continuing through every stage of our lives.

Neuroscientists have known for decades that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released during aerobic exercise and stimulates neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons).

This provides you with a much needed boost for the brain regardless of your age or when you start.

Exercise and spiritual health

Finally, despite less scientific research that is available, many individuals and organisations suggest a positive correlation between physical activity and spiritual health. Basic improvements like promoting mindfulness and improving your relationships, it has also been found to make you more sociable and heighten your intuition.  These can be especially prevalent in a group training environment like the one available at the Studio Durham House.

In summary

So, to summarise, any form of activity, be it running, yoga, weight training has been found through research to provide a positive effect on all aspects of your overall holistic health and, no matter who you are, it is not too late to start.

Durham House Chiropractic Blog | Giving pain the elbow

Earlier this month we discussed two common conditions associated with the elbow. In today’s blog we look at some stretching and strengthening exercises you can try yourself at home.

STRETCHING EXERCISES for both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow

Wrist active range of motion, flexion and extension:

Bend the wrist of your injured arm forward and back as far as you can. Do 2 sets of 15.

 

Wrist stretch: Press the back of the hand on your injured side with your other hand to help bend your wrist. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Next, stretch the hand back by pressing the fingers in a backward direction. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep the arm on your injured side straight during this exercise. Do 3 sets.

Forearm pronation and supination: Bend the elbow of your injured arm 90 degrees, keeping your elbow at your side. Turn your palm up and hold for 5 seconds. Then slowly turn your palm down and hold for 5 seconds. Make sure you keep your elbow at your side and bent 90 degrees while you do the exercise. Do 2 sets of 15.

For tennis elbow specifically

Active elbow flexion and extension:  Gently bring the palm of the hand on your injured side up toward your shoulder, bending your elbow as much as you can. Then straighten your elbow as far as you can. Repeat 15 times. Do 2 sets of 15.

You can do the strengthening exercises when stretching is nearly painless.

STRENGTHENING EXERCISES for both golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow

Eccentric wrist flexion: Hold a can, bottle or hammer handle in the hand of your injured side with your palm up. Use the hand on the side that is not injured to bend your wrist up. Then let go of your wrist and use just your injured side to lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15. Gradually increase the weight you are holding.

Eccentric wrist extension: Hold a can, bottle or hammer handle in the hand of your injured side with your palm facing down. Use the hand on the side that is not injured to bend your wrist up. Then let go of your wrist and use just your injured side to lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of one and gradually increase the weight you are holding.

Forearm pronation and supination strengthening:

Hold a can, bottle or hammer handle in your hand and bend your elbow 90 degrees. Slowly turn your hand so your palm is up and then down. Do 2 sets of 15.

For tennis elbow specifically

Wrist radial deviation strengthening:  Put your wrist in the sideways position with your thumb up. Hold a can, bottle or a hammer handle and gently bend your wrist up. Do not move your forearm throughout this exercise. Do 2 sets of 15.

 

Wrist exension with broom handle:  Stand up and hold a broom handle in both hands. With your arms at shoulder level, elbows straight and palms down, roll the broom handle backward in your hand. Do 2 sets of 15.

For Golfers Elbow Specifically

Grip strengthening:  Squeeze a soft rubber ball and hold the squeeze for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.

 

 

Resisted elbow flexion and extension: Hold a can of soup with your palm up. Slowly bend your elbow so that your hand is coming toward your shoulder. Then lower it slowly so your arm is completely straight. Do 2 sets of 15. Slowly increase the weight you are using.

 

If despite these exercises you are still experiencing pain. Contact one of our team on either fleet@durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk or farnham@durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk

The Studio Durham House Blog | Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose — Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (SAY-too BAHN-duh shar-vahn-GAHS-uh-na) — is a beginning backbend that helps to open the chest and stretch the thighs. When you’re in the pose, your arms and legs create a “locked bridge” with your body. This pose can be used as preparation for deeper backbends or practiced with a block as a restorative pose.

Bridge Pose opens the chest, heart, and shoulders. It stretches the spine, the back of the neck, the thighs, and the hip flexors (front hip joints). Because your heart is higher than your head in this pose, it is considered a mild inversion (less strenuous than other inversions, such as Headstand) and holds all the benefits of inversions: Relief from stress, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and mild depression.

Bridge Pose also calms the mind and is known to be therapeutic for individuals with high blood pressure. Because it opens the chest, it increases lung capacity, which is therapeutic for those with asthma.

Bridge Pose also stimulates the abdominal organs and thyroid glands, which improves digestion and helps to regulate metabolism. Because it revitalizes the legs and stretches the shoulders, it can be a particularly rejuvenating pose for those who spend the day sitting in front of a computer or driving.

Do not perform this pose if you have a neck or shoulder injury. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

Instructions

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms along the floor, palms flat.
  • Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Exhale as you lift your hips toward the ceiling.
  • Draw your tailbone toward your pubic bone, holding your buttocks off the floor. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex your buttocks.
  • Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body. Clasp your hands and extend your arms along the floor beneath your pelvis. Straighten your arms as much as possible, pressing your forearms into the mat. Reach your knuckles toward your heels.
  • Keep your thighs and feet parallel — do not roll to the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Press your weight evenly across all four corners of both feet. Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees.
  • Hold for up to one minute. To release, unclasp your hands and place them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly roll your spine along the floor, vertebra by vertebra. Allow your knees to drop together.

If you’re having trouble keeping your hips lifted or to create a restorative version of the pose, place a block or bolster under your sacrum — the spot on your lower back directly above your tailbone — to support your pelvis. Allow your weight to rest on the block.

If your shoulders are very tight, keep your hands alongside the body with your palms pressing into the mat rather than clasping your hands beneath your torso.

When you are in the full version of the pose, do not force your shoulders away from your ears by tugging too hard or turn your head to the right or left when you’re in the pose. Doing so can cause neck injury.

Keep your shoulder blades drawn together as you extend your arms beneath your torso.

 To find out more about Yoga at the Studio Durham House Farnham, click here

The Studio Durham House Blog | The Benefit of BARRE on the prevention and rehabilitation back injuries

BARRE Pilates

Whether you are trying to prevent lower back injuries or recover from a recent injury, regular practice of the BARRE concept method has many benefits that work alongside regular chiropractic or sports massage.

Barre-based fitness classes have risen in popularity over the past few years due to the positive feelings many of our members experience, as well as the results. The best part is, you do not need to be a prima ballerina to discover the benefits.

What is BARRE Pilates?

BARRE

Barre fitness is a hybrid workout class – combining ballet-inspired moves with elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and strength training. Most classes incorporate a ballet barre and use classic dance moves such as plies, alongside static stretches. Barre also focuses on high reps of small range movements.

But the real difference between barre and other workouts are the isometric movements you usually perform – holding your body still while you contract specific muscles, until you shake and feel the burn! Many barre classes can also be modified so they are a safe workout option for pre or post-natal clients. Barre workouts are also a good cross-training option to pair with other exercise like running, weightlifting or cycling, because they strengthen the muscles needed for these exercises without being too stressful on the body.

How does BARRE support your back?

Firstly, if you are trying to prevent lower back injury, regular attendance at BARRE can have a huge impact on your core strength. Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. In addition, the barre method also offers quick results. Barre helps strengthen and tone your muscles without increasing bulk, and it improves your posture. It also increases cardiovascular endurance and metabolism, which helps to quickly burn calories.

BARRE for injury rehabilitation

The most common issue that clients come in with is back pain that usually stems from weak core muscles and hours spent sitting at the computer. As you strengthen your core, you will notice that you can sit and stand taller and your lower back will take less stress and tension throughout the day.

In addition, if you are recovering from back injury, BARRE can be a nice step from guided physiotherapy or chiropractic to help fully rehabilitate you from your injury. The use of some equipment helps support the back while you are exercising, and this helps loosen and work the muscles in a safe, controlled way.  Regular attendance can increase your core stability and increase your flexibility.

The Studio Durham House Blog | Yoga poses for spinal health

Health Ustrasana (ooh-STRAHS-a-na)

HOW YOGA CAN KEEP YOUR SPINE HEALTHY

Spinal health is essential. Our spine supports our bodies, protecting the nerves and enabling us to move. Each cell in our bodies is controlled by our central nervous system. If problems with our spine means it is unable to support the central nervous system, issues can rear their head.

Maintaining spinal health is therefore vital.

One of the myriad of benefits of yoga includes improving and maintaining healthy movement and strength of the spine.

Yoga expands the different motions of the spine. By improving the agility and flexibility of the spine, yoga can help reduce the chances of spinal injuries. The different yoga poses encourage the muscles which support the spine to be in alignment with the deep core muscles and the abdomen.

Today we discuss the first in a series of poses that are great for spinal health.

Ustrasana (ooh-STRAHS-a-na)

Ustrasana (ooh-STRAHS-a-na)  — Camel pose is a backbend that stretches the whole front of the body particularly the chest, abdomen, quadriceps, and hip flexors. It improves spinal flexibility, while also strengthening the back muscles and improving posture. This pose creates space in the chest and lungs, increasing breathing capacity and helping to relieve respiratory ailments. Ustrasana also stimulates the kidneys, which improves digestion. This pose energizes the body and helps to reduce anxiety and fatigue.

It is often used as preparation for deeper backbends. Practicing Ustrasana daily can be a great way to relieve neck and back pain caused by slouching in front of a computer or driving.

Ustrasana can be an energizing way to gain spinal flexibility. However, it’s important to learn how to do it correctly to avoid injury and strain.

When practicing backbends, it is crucial to create length between your vertebrae, being careful not to collapse or crunch into the pose. Keep your pelvis stable as you lift and lengthen your sternum toward the sky.
Take the pose slowly, only going as deep as your body will allow without pain.
Gently draw your tailbone forward while pressing the front of your thighs back. This counter-action will stabilize your pelvis as you lift and lengthen your spine, instead of compressing your spine when you lean back.
Be careful not to bring your head so far back that you strain your neck. Keep your neck extended and comfortable throughout the pose.

Remember never to force your body into the pose. Practice a modified version until you have gained the amount of flexibility and strength you need to safely go deeper.

To find out more about Yoga at the Studio Durham House click here 

Durham House Chiropractic Blog | The history of Chiropractic

Galin Clearly Durham House Chiropractic
The beginning of Chiropractic

It has been suggested that Chiropractic as a profession began in 1895 when its founder, Daniel David Palmer, “adjusted” the spine of a deaf janitor and claimed to restore his hearing.

Spinal manipulation was not an unknown treatment in 1895, and Palmer had suggested that it appeared to have been used for maybe hundred or even thousands of years. In fact, Hippocrates was reported to have once said, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.” However, up until the late 19th century no one had developed a philosophical or scientific rationale to explain the effects of spinal manipulation.

Palmer soon discovered that adjustments could relieve patients’ pain and other symptoms. These problems with vertebrae have been called chiropractic subluxations. He began to use these “hand treatments” to treat a variety of ailments, including sciatica, migraine headaches, stomach complaints, epilepsy, and heart trouble. In 1898, he opened the Palmer School & Infirmary of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and began teaching his chiropractic techniques to others.

Chiropractic in the 21st century

Chiropractors use a range of techniques to reduce pain, improve function and increase mobility, including hands-on manipulation of the spine. As well as manual treatment, chiropractors are able to offer a package of care which includes advice on self-help, therapeutic exercises and lifestyle changes.

Chiropractic treatment involves safe, often gentle, specific spinal manipulation to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body that are not moving properly. Apart from manipulation, chiropractors may use a variety of techniques including ice, heat, ultrasound, exercise and acupuncture as well as advice about posture and lifestyle.

Chiropractic at Durham House.

Chiropractic treatment can benefit you in ways you might never expect. And while most people pop into their chiropractor’s office for the first time to relieve pain in their back or neck, they keep returning even after the pain is gone because of the amazing benefits.

A healthy immune system should be able to fight off most of the bacteria and viruses that it comes into contact with, with only minimal assistance from antibiotics or other drugs. Because the nervous system controls the functions of cells, organs and tissues of the body, a misalignment has been found to reduce the ability of the immune system. Chiropractic care can realign the spine, freeing up the immune system to fight off intruders. Studies show that people who practice chiropractic maintenance have fewer colds than others.

The nerves that run through the spine also control your stomach and its functions. If the vertebrae in this area are improperly aligned, the nerves can begin signaling a need for more acid production, resulting in gas,  heartburn, and acid reflux. A chiropractic adjustment is believe to help the nerves in the thoracic spine work properly; the end result is frequently the elimination of stomach problems.

In addition, Chiropractic adjustments have been found to help increase your energy. It’s able to do this in two ways: by reducing tension in the spine and by freeing the nerves to work more effectively. Many times we’ve been sore and tense for so long that we don’t even notice it. Pain becomes normal to us. As our bodies struggle with muscle aches and pains and an ineffective nervous system, we find ourselves feeling run down and tired. Chiropractic adjustments remove all the pressure, freeing the body to run as it was designed to.

In addition, a study performed by WebMD concluded that a chiropractic adjustment that specifically targets the nerves in the upper neck is as effective as taking a double dose of blood pressure medications. This specific manipulation is referred to in chiropractic circles as the “Atlas adjustment,” and is known to have stabilizing effects on blood pressure.

Finally, it has been suggested to help you breathe better. The lungs are just like every other part of the body in that they rely on nerve function to travel unimpeded from the brain to the spiral cord. A misalignment in the thoracic and mid-cervical regions of the spine can lead to lung abnormalities like asthma. Correcting subluxations can help reduce inflammation in the lungs and increase our ability to breathe properly.

The Era of Opportunity for Chiropractic Care.

Just within the last few years, spinal manipulation and/or chiropractic care has been recommended as the first line of defense in pain management by the American College of Physicians guideline on low back pain, the FDA’s Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers Involved in the Management or Support of Patients with Pain, and The Joint Commission’s new and revised pain assessment and management standards for its accredited hospitals.

In addition, it is becoming more and more common for our sports heroes to mention that value they place on chiropractic care. Doctors of chiropractic are now regularly included as treating physicians at the Olympic games,

Furthermore, Chiropractic stands to be seen as both preventative and reactive as we encourage more and more of the population to seek regular check ups on their spine.

The team at Durham House are highly qualified and work with patients to increase overall spinal health.  If you are interested in relieving stress, increasing posture or mood, or having better sleep, find out more via www.durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk and book your free chiropractic exam and diagnosis.

The Studio Durham House Blog | The power of massage for runners

Massage for runners

Following yesterdays London Marathon in which over 40,000 participants crossed the finishing line. We thought we would give you a rundown on the benefits of massage for runners.

As many of you could see, the few professional runners taking part have an entire team helping them succeed. Whilst their coach tends to be the one doing most of the talking– the elite also see sports psychologists, strength coaches, nutritionists, a variety of doctors, and of course, massage therapists.

Massage has long been a part of a runner’s training program. You’ve no doubt heard many of the benefits of massage: improved circulation, less muscle soreness, and a removal of exercise waste products like lactic acid.

But much of what we think is true actually isn’t. Here’s a quick example: lactic acid (or lactate) is removed from your muscles within minutes of accumulating. And it’s not actually responsible for sore muscles.

So what are the actual benefits of massage for runners? If massage doesn’t clear lactate from your muscles, how can it help your running?

The benefits of massage for runners

The major benefit of massage is that it relaxes tense muscles and removes adhesions or minor scar tissue between muscles and fascia, a fancy word for the sheath or casing that surrounds your muscles. Unneeded tension and adhesions can restrict movement and impair your range of motion, potentially leading to abnormal movement patterns that can cause overuse injuries.

Now, obviously only a small percent of yesterday marathon runners had access to a massage therapist, however, if you do enjoy a massage here are some tips below that you can either try yourself, or ask a partner or friend to do for you.

What should I do

Firstly, Massage right after a hard race or workout (or maybe even the day after if you’re still significantly sore) is counterproductive to the recovery process. And massage right before a race might leave you sore on the starting line. Realistically, applying pressure to already sore muscles will be uncomfortable, so it’s best to wait a couple of days after a race before you get your massage.

Self-massage offers many of the same benefits and you only need a few simple tools: Firstly, you could try a foam roller. These come in all shapes, sizes and can have differing levels of firmness. Try simply rolling the muscles along the muscle fascia. In addition, a massage  can go deeper and be used well for specific trigger points. But be careful: deeper pressure isn’t necessarily better. Muscles can tighten up as a defense mechanism, so stick with relatively gentle pressure.

If you do decide you would like someone else to do it. The massage team at Durham House Chiropractic have a huge amount of skills and experience to help you get over your post marathon legs. But what massage is best? Well mostly it depends on you and what you need it for.

What Are the Best Types of Massage for Runners?

There are three types of massage that are best for runners and all are used in different situations and at different times.

Deep Tissue: this is what most of us think about when we think about a “sports massage” – a massage that works the entire muscle while focusing on specific tight spots in both the deep muscle and also the superficial layers of fascia.

This type of massage is more holistic, so this is best used during periods of hard training. Since it focuses on your entire muscle, rather than a particular trouble area, it’s great when you’re training a lot but don’t have a specific injury.

Active Release Technique (A.R.T.): this massage modality has become popular in the last decade. Combining trigger point massage with movement by the therapist, this type of massage is designed to break up scar tissue and improve mobility.

A.R.T. is best used when you have a specific injury where scar tissue may be impairing the healing and recovery process. A good therapist can determine where any adhesions may be and then break them up while improving functional flexibility in the tissue.

Swedish: This is more a relaxing, typically soft-pressure massage that doesn’t go deep into the muscles. While it likely won’t help with muscle adhesions or scar tissue, a more relaxing massage still has many benefits for runners.

Before a race, a Swedish massage can help improve relaxation, muscle tension, and lower your stress levels without damaging or stressing the tissue.

If you would like to try a massage. Visit our website www.durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk and get in touch.

The Studio Durham House Blog | How do sports massage and pilates work together

Pilates at the Studio Durham House

Firstly, what is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of exercise which concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. This helps to improve general fitness and overall well-being. It concentrates on posture, balance and flexibility. In Pilates the chance of injury has been found to be much lower than with other more strenuous forms of exercise.

Pilates also focuses on the mind-body connection. While doing the various exercises your mind needs to be constantly aware of your breathing and the way your body moves.

Because Pilates can be modified to provide either a gentle strength training program or a challenging workout, most people would have no problem with this form of exercise. It is suitable both for beginners and for people who already exercise regularly.

But i though Sports massage was just for sport people? 

Sports massage is a type of massage that focuses on deeper layers of tissues. It involves techniques such as kneading, skin rolling and trigger pointing which helps to improve flexibility, reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), prevent injury and break down tension.

Sports massage, in conflict with its name, is not only used for sports people. People who work in an office all day or have a job where they are lifting heavy objects or drive for long hours can also benefit from having a sports massage. It helps to relieve stress, improve posture and increase relaxation.

How do they work together?

Pilates ultimately is a workout for your muscles. You are putting your muscles under tension which will ultimately lead to some muscle soreness. However, where Pilates and massage go together is that they can both be used to elongates the muscles, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.

In addition, regular sports massage helps to break down muscular tension by increasing muscle temperature and encourage muscles to relax. This allows the length of a muscle to increase allowing an increase in movement and therefore further preventing injury.

Moreover, Pilates helps to further improve and maintain your posture by increasing the strength of your upper back and neck flexor muscles. A combination of both regular Pilates and massage will prevent tension and poor posture from returning. This can help alleviate both acute and chronic pain caused by injury, poor posture, stress, tension and weakness.

To summaries, sports massage has been found to help reduce pain by improving recovery post injury by improving strength and mobility. Combining both massage and Pilates would ensure pain is eliminated and prevented  from returning.

Try a combination of Pilates and Massage the Durham House, Farnham. 

Because Pilates can be modified to provide either a gentle strength training program or a challenging workout, most people would have no problem with this form of exercise. It is suitable both for beginners and for people who already exercise regularly.

If you’re a beginner you can start with basic exercises and then once you’ve mastered those, you can work on the more advanced moves. It’s a good idea when you’re just starting out in Pilates to go to Pilates exercise classes or have a private instructor. This way the instructor can make sure that you are doing the exercises correctly to avoid any injury.

If you would like to find out more, visit our website www.durhamhousechiropractic.co.uk or www.thestudiodurhamhouse.co.uk.

The Studio Durham House Blog | Fun Yoga Poses For Kids This Easter

Kids Easter Yoga

If you’re looking for a bit of fun with the family during the Easter Holidays. Then why not try out these Easter friendly Yoga poses.

The following kid-friendly yoga postures have been specifically sequenced to invite flow from one pose to the next. But feel free to shorten or lengthen the sequence to suit the ages and needs of your children. Make this Easter yoga experience your own.

PRETEND TO BE A CHICK OR DUCK – SQUAT POSE

Come down to a squat with your knees apart and bend your arms, pretending they are the wings of a duck. Then try waddling and quacking like a duck.

PRETEND TO BE A PUPPY – DOWNWARD-FACING DOG POSE

Step back to your hands and feet in an upside-down V shape, with your buttocks up in the air, and stretch like a puppy.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER HAT – TABLE TOP POSE

Come to an all-fours position with your fingers spread out and palms flat on the ground. Ensure that your back and neck are in a straight but neutral position. Your shoulders should be over your wrists, and your hips should be over your knees while the tops of your feet are flat on the ground. Pretend to be an Easter hat blowing in the breeze.

PRETEND TO BE A BABY LAMB – COW POSE

On all fours, look up, arch your back, and open your chest. Pretend to be a baby lamb munching on hay and say “baa.”

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER BUNNY – HERO POSE WITH BUNNY BREATH

Come to rest upright on your heels with your palms resting on your knees and take four to six short breaths then a long exhale.

PRETEND TO BE A LADYBUG – CHILD’S POSE

Sit on your heels, slowly bring your forehead down to rest on the floor in front of your knees, rest your arms down alongside your body, and take a few deep breaths. Pretend to be a ladybug in the garden.

PRETEND TO BE A BABY TURTLE – EXTENDED CHILD’S POSE

Sit on your heels, slowly bring your forehead down to rest in front of your knees, place the palms of your hands flat out in front of you, and take a few deep breaths. Imagine being a baby turtle resting on a rock.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER LILY – FLOWER POSE

Sit on your buttocks, keeping a tall spine, then lift your bent legs while balancing on your sitting bones. Weave your arms under your legs with your palms facing up. Pretend to be a blossoming Easter lily.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER EGG – EGG POSE

Balance on your buttocks while hugging your knees to your chest.

PRETEND TO BE AN EASTER BASKET – BOAT POSE

Balance on your buttocks with your arms and legs straight out in front of you in a V shape. Keep a straight spine and open chest. Pretend to be holding Easter eggs on your belly as if you were an Easter basket.

PRETEND TO BE A BUTTERFLY – COBBLER’S POSE

Sit on your buttocks with a tall spine, bend your legs, place the soles of your feet together, and gently flap your legs like the wings of a colorful butterfly.

PRETEND TO BE A RAINBOW – BRIDGE POSE OR WHEEL POSE

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Rest your arms down alongside your body, with your palms flat on the ground. Tuck your chin into your chest and keep your spine straight. On an inhale, lift your buttocks to create the arches of a rainbow.

Do you have any favorite Easter books to go with your Easter yoga poses? We’d love to hear your recommendations?

The Studio Durham House Blog | The History of massage therapy

Durham House Chiropractic

A history of massage therapy.

A Form of Massage Emerges in India

Started practicing massage in approximately 3,000 BCE*, possibly earlier

Believed to be of divine origin and passed down orally through generations, Ayurveda is the traditional holistic medical system in India. Ancient seers and natural scientists developed this system based on centuries of studies, experiments and meditations.

Texts detailing Ayurvedic principles and practices were written some time between 1500 and 500 BCE. Based on these texts, Ayurveda was widely adopted throughout India and Southeast Asia.

Ayurveda views that individuals incur illnesses and diseases when they live out of harmony with their environment. To treat their conditions, individuals must restore their natural mental and physical balance by reestablishing harmony between themselves and the world around them. At that point, they can begin to heal naturally.

Based on the patient’s health imbalances, constitution and the time of year, Ayurveda recommends how to use the five senses to interact with the environment in order to create balance. Treatments in Ayurveda include diet and herbalismaromatherapy, color therapy, sound therapy and touch therapy.

A Hint of the Massage Culture Appears in Egypt and China

Started practicing massage between 3000 and 2500 BCE

The earliest written records of massage therapy were discovered in Egypt and China. Tomb paintings in Egypt depict individuals being kneaded by others. Furthermore, Egyptians are credited with creating reflexology in approximately 2500 BCE. In this system, the practitioner applies pressure to specific points or reflex zones on the feet and hands. In turn, the recipient experiences beneficial effects on the areas of the body that connect to those zones.

In China, texts documenting the medical benefits of massage therapy date back to approximately 2700 BCE. The Chinese tradition of massage therapy was developed from the combined expertise and methods of doctors in traditional Chinese medicine, practitioners of martial arts, Buddhists and Taoists who viewed touch as essential to their spiritual yoga training, and laymen who offered massages for relaxation.

Chinese massage methods originated from the principle that diseases and illnesses arise due to a deficiency or imbalance in the energy in specific pathways or meridians that represent physiological systems. Through massage and other specific bodywork techniques, energy will flow more harmoniously through these pathways, allowing the body to heal itself naturally.

Techniques include Tui Na, amno, acupuncture and acupressure, to name a few. Practitioners may complement massage treatments with herbal remedies, dietary therapy and exercise recommendations.

Monks Bring Massage Therapy to Japan

Started practicing massage in approximately 1000 BCE

Starting around 1000 BCE, Japanese monks studying Buddhism in China observed the healing methods of traditional Chinese medicine, including massage therapy. Japan soon began to import and customize Chinese massage techniques, giving rise to traditional Japanese massage or anma, which grew into Shiatsu.

The primary goal of Shiatsu is to raise the energy level in the patient. In turn, this increased energy level regulates and fortifies the functioning of the organs and stimulates natural resistance to illnesses.

Massage practitioners stimulate pressure points in the body in an effort to rebalance the patient’s energy. They use their thumbs, fingers and palms, working without needles or other instruments. Through treatment, patients can achieve balance in both their physical body and emotional well-being.

Athletes and Philosophers Introduce Massage to Greece

Started practicing massage between 800 and 700 BCE

Derived from the Eastern philosophies and practices, massage progressed into Western civilization in approximately the eighth century BCE.

Athletes in Ancient Greece employed massage to keep their bodies in peak condition prior to competitions. Physicians of the time used herbs and oils in combination with massage techniques to treat many medical conditions. Greek women recognized the benefits of these aromatic oils and used them as beauty treatments on their skin.

In the fifth century BCE, Hippocrates prescribed “friction” to treat physical injuries and instructed his physician colleagues on the benefits of rubbing to help the body heal itself. Moreover, he promoted a combination of massage, proper diet, exercise, rest, fresh air and music to restore the body to a healthy state.

“Do as the Romans Do” – Massage Spreads to Rome

Started practicing massage between 200 and 100 BCE

In Rome, during the first century BCE, Galen, a physician to many emperors, began using massage therapy to treat different types of physical injuries and diseases. Following Hippocrates’ principles, Galen believed in exercise, healthy diet, rest and massage as integral pieces in restoring and maintaining a healthy body.

While the wealthy received massages in their homes by personal physicians, many Romans were treated in public baths where trainers and doctors delivered massages. The recipients would first bathe themselves and then receive a full body massage to stimulate circulation and loosen their joints. Massages typically included oils to benefit the skin.

Highly popular in Roman culture, the public baths eventually earned a reputation as being more about excess and the pursuit of pleasure instead of as an avenue for healing. In the fourth century CE**, the Roman Emperor Constantine condemned the public baths for adding to the abuse of sex in Roman culture.

Europe Recognizes Massage’s Healing Powers

The 17th through 19th centuries CE**

Massage therapy declined in popularity and practice in the West until approximately 1600 CE. Scientific breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmacology were changing the foundation of modern medicine. Manual methods of healing faded from view.

Between 1600 and 1800, numerous physicians and scientists observed and documented the benefits of massage. However, Western techniques made few advances until the 19th century.

In the early 1800s, the Swedish physician Per Henrik Ling developed the Swedish Gymnastic Movement System. This system incorporated massage with medical gymnastics and physiology. Techniques included stroking, pressing and squeezing, and striking to manually treat physical issues.

The United States, Massage and the Wellness Boom

The 20th century through today

Through the early part of the 20th century, an increasing number of new and rediscovered massage techniques were documented and practiced. In particular, massage was used to treat World War I patients who suffered from nerve injury or shell shock.

However, massage remained out of the mainstream as a form of treatment for many years. It was perceived as a luxury reserved for the wealthy. Furthermore, its reputation endured another unsavory period with the advent of massage parlors where the practice became associated with the sex trade.

In the latter half of the 20th century, rising interest in natural healing methods revitalized massage. More and more states started to regulate the practice, and industry standards in licensing and education emerged. As a result, massage earned a place as a legitimate and respectable form of alternative and complementary medicine and because recognized in society’s wellness boom—the focus on disease prevention through maintaining wellness.

Today’s massage therapists practice a multitude of techniques originating from ancient methods. From those roots, they remain inspired by a goal cultivated centuries ago – to help others heal their physical and emotional well-being and experience a higher quality of life.

Sources: Holistic Online, Massage-Wire.com, PlanetHerbs.com, naturalhealers.com.