Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Why Do My Muscles Feel Tight?

When someone says, “My muscles feel tight.” We all know the feeling, the uncomfortableness. But why do muscles feel “tight?” Are they actually tighter? What is causing this sensation?

First things first, let’s look at what “tightness” actually means -- then we’ll talk about how to alleviate the discomfort of that feeling.

What is Muscle Tightness?

We all have our own idea of what muscle tightness feels like, but it can be used to describe a variety of ailments. Tightness is often used to describe:

  • Reduced range of motion
  • Area never feels relaxed
  • Movement is more effort than normal
  • Mild discomfort that isn’t quite pain

Any of these sensations can be described as “muscle tightness.” In short though, most muscle tightness comes down to reduced blood flow. When we have actually pain, it’s usually warning to NOT move that body part. But when we are just experiencing uncomfortable tightness, it’s the body’s way of saying it needs more blood flow -- through movement, stretching, or massage.

How Can I Cure Muscle Tightness?

Muscle tightness can be caused by a variety of factors -- decreased movement, repetitive motion, or side effects from injury or illness. Think about when you emerge from a long car ride -- your body is stiff, muscles are tight, and you’re uncomfortable. You will instinctively stretch to relax muscles and relieve stiffness. You are instinctively increasing the blood flow to the muscles that were deprived of it during the car ride.

When stretching or moving doesn’t work, what can you do to relieve muscle tightness? The solution is still to increase blood flow to the area -- but you made need some outside help.


One of the main benefits of massage is that it increases blood flow to the muscles. Working with a licensed massage therapist to address muscle tightness is one of the most effective treatments.
Massage also relaxes the body and mind -- which can turn off the body’s defense mechanism of creating uncomfortable tightness.


Pump iron. Get pumped up. Pump it up. These aren’t just things people say about exercise -- the phrases come from the fact that your heart is pumping more when you’re moving. Incorporating cardio exercise and strength training will not only make you stronger and healthier -- it will increase blood flow to the muscles.

Tightness can sometimes be a body’s response to feeling weak, so strengthening the muscles that are tight -- although it may seem counterproductive -- can actually relieve muscle tension in the long run.

Experience muscle tightness? I want to help! Contact me today to see how we can start you on path of recovery with massage.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Massage for RAGBRAI

Every summer, cyclists from across the globe make a trek to Iowa for the famous Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa -- better known as RAGBRAI. The trip across Iowa means preparing your body for hundreds of miles ridden within one week. Thousands of people successfully complete the ride each year, but you have to be prepared. Massage can be a great tool to help you get your body in proper shape -- or to recover from the ride afterwards.

While every cyclist is different, everyone can benefit from adding massage as part of their race training schedule. We’ve pulled together a suggested massage schedule for RAGBRAI.

One Week Until Race Day: Deep Tissue Massage

About one week -- but at least 4 days -- before the start of the race, schedule a deep tissue massage. This will loosen up any tighteness you may have gained from training. In bikers, the IT band, quads, hamstrings, and lower back tend to be the problem areas.

A deep tissue massage will release lactic acid buildup and set your muscles up to repair properly before the strain of RAGBRAI hits. Allow yourself at least four days to recover from a deep tissue massage before hitting the Iowa roads.

One Day to Race Day: Swedish or Relaxation Massage

The day before -- or it could be two or three -- schedule a Swedish or relaxation based massage. You’ll have had time to recover from the deep tissue, but can still benefit from the relaxation massage. This massage will cause less stress on your muscles than deep tissue -- but will still help you loosen up for the big race.

A gentle massage will help you flush out toxins and lactic acid from the muscles -- thus helping prevent injury during RAGBRAI and ease discomfort of riding high mile days.

During RAGBRAI: Chair or Spot Massage

Massage is not only helpful before and after a race, but even during! RAGBRAI lasts a whole week with camps each night. At the RAGBRAI camp, there are massage therapists offering services to riders. Take advantage!

Many of the therapists will have chair massages and some will offer table or spot work at the camp. If you’re body is sore from being in the saddle all day, a nice relaxing massage could be just what you need. IT could also prevent any overuse injuries or uncessary strain.

After RAGBRAI: Deep Tissue or Sports Massage

Now that you’ve completed RAGBRAI and dipped your wheel into the Mississippi River, celebrate! And then schedule an appointment with your massage therapist. A nice deep tissue or sports massage will help you recover from the long ride quicker and with less pain. Expect to feel sore for about two days after a deep tissue -- many say it feels like a hard weight lifting workout -- but then you’ll feel lighter than air.

If you’ve suffered an injury during RAGBRAI, massage will help you heal quicker. Discuss with your LMT your injury or pain issue, and they can develop a plan for treatment. Most of all -- be proud you tackled RAGBRAI!

If you would like a specific massage plan for your RAGBRAI training, please contact me today!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

4 Benefits of Massage in the Workplace

As one of my many endeavors, I offer businesses an in-house program where I bring massage into the office for organizations around Des Moines. I’ve seen first hand how offering massage to employees can improve overall office morale and performance.

If you’re considering bringing massage to your workplace, there’s some things you should know -- like all the fantastic benefits!

Here are 4 benefits of having a massage therapist in the workplace:

  1. Improved productivity. There have been a multitude of studies that show massage helps improve brain function and focus. By offering easy access to massage -- right in the office -- employees can enjoy the benefits in a timely fashion. The organization then benefits from happy, healthy, focused employees that perform better.
  2. Higher workplace morale. Stress can take its toll on even the most employee-focused organizations. Massage in the office provides an outlet for employees to relax and regain energy for their day. The end result is an overall more relaxed place to work.
  3. Healthier employees. Among massage’s list of benefits are reduced stress, pain relief, headache relief, improved flexibility, decreased anxiety, and ease of depression. Healthier employees perform better, take less sick time, and report better job satisfaction. One Canadian company experienced a 25% decrease in work-related injuries and saved $200K in compensation claims after implementing a regular workplace massage program.
  4. Reduced turnover. Companies that provided extra perks and benefits are able to reduce employee turnover. In one study from Careerbuilder, 58% of respondents claimed offering better benefits was the best way to boost employee retention. Respondents listed “massage” as one of the top 10 perks a company could use to make them stay.

If you’re interested in experiencing the benefits of massage in your workplace, please feel free to contact me. I offer both traditional massage table massages and chair massage services at a competitive rate. Let me make your business better!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Benefits of Himalayan Salt Massage


I’m excited to announce a new offering at Holistic Healing Massage & Spa -- Himalayan salt massage! Himalayan salt is a naturally occurring mineral with a slew of benefits that add value to a massage.

During a Himalayan salt massage, warm Himalayan salt stones are used to enhance a full-body relaxation massage. You may be familiar with Himalayan salt in other forms like the popular lamps (pictured below) or as a seasoning for food.


When used as a polished stone for massage, Himalayan sea salt boosts the benefits of massage. The added benefits from the stones include:

  • Release of negative ions. We are bombarded daily with positive ions from our electronic devices. Negative ions from the Himalayan salt stones help to trap mold spores, germs, and other allergens in the air. You’ll be breathing in clean, crisp air during the massage.
  • Deeper relaxation. The heat from the stones helps to soothe and relax muscles -- allowing you to receive more benefits from the massage.
  • Moist heat. The moist heat from the stones helps soothe aching muscles and moisturize skin. You’ll leave with smooth, hydrated skin.
  • Feeling of being grounded. The minerals in the stones help to achieve a spiritual grounding. You’ll feel more centered and calm after the massage.

If you’re interested in trying out this new service, please contact me. Visit the Holistic Healing Massage & Spa website for rates and scheduling.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Get Better Sleep with Massage

As our bodies adjust this week from Daylight Savings Time, you may be feeling the effects of too little sleep. Sleep is such a vital part of overall health, and with World Sleep Day coming up on this week (March 17), I wanted to talk a bit about how massage can help you get better sleep.

According to the Center for Disease Control, lack of quality sleep contributes to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and injury or death causing vehicle or machine-related accidents. As a country, we’re just not getting enough sleep -- it’s estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans are suffering from sleep issues that affect their health.

Massage therapy is a great way to improve your quality and quantity of sleep. The following benefits from massage can aid in better sleep:

  • Relaxation
  • Stress Relief
  • Improved Circulation
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Pain Relief

By finding relief from pain and stress, massage clients are able to achieve better sleep. Have you ever accidently taken a nap during or after a massage? That’s your body telling you it’s ready for more sleep! I believe so strongly in the power of sleep and rest, I even offer the option to stay on the massage table and take a nap after a session. Imagine an uninterrupted 30 minutes -- no kids, no spouse, no job, no housework, no responsibilities -- of blissful napping after an hour-long massage!

If you’re interested in booking a session or learning more about how massage can help you get better sleep, please contact me today!
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

All About Access Bars

One of the more recent modalities I’ve added to my massage practice in Des Moines, IA, is Access Consciousness Bars. No, it’s not a place to drink or a type of candy. Access Bars are 32 points on the human head that when touched properly can release limitations and blockages. It’s a energy work that is gaining popularity because of it’s ability to help people release and receive.

During an Access Consciousness Bars session, I lightly touch certain areas around the head while activating mantras in my mind. This energy work helps to release years -- sometimes decades or even thousands of years -- of gunked up stuff that is holding you back. Releasing that negativity, those blocks, that resistance -- opens you up to actively receive. You can actively receive the energy work treatment, love, positivity -- all the good stuff! It helps clear anything that has been blocking you from change. Receivers of Access Consciousness Bars have reported relaxation, improved sleep, clearer thinking, and reduced anxiety.

People have been enjoying the benefits of Access Consciousness for over 25 years. Finally, science is now finding ways to measure and show exactly how Access Consciousness Bars help people release their blocks to receive. You can see a video from neuroscientists on the study of Access Bars here.

I’ve really enjoyed adding this modality to my repertoire because my clients are seeing awesome results from it! I’ve pretty much been hooked every since I took the class.

If you have questions about Access Consciousness Bars or want to try out out for yourself, please feel free to contact me.

If you want to learn more about what we offer, please visit our website, and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on specials!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Massage and a Healthy Heart

It’s February and we’re surrounded by hearts. Candy hearts. Paper hearts. Just lots of hearts to symbolize the month of love and Valentine’s Day. What I want to talk about is your literal heart. The American Heart Association has dubbed February American Heart Month to promote heart-healthy habits across the U.S.

I’d like to encourage the spread of love and heart healthy habits. According to the American Heart Therapy Association, massage has been shown to provide a slew of heart healthy benefits. Including:

  1. Reduced blood pressure
  2. Reduced physical and psychological stress
  3. Reduced pain
  4. Reduced anxiety
  5. Relief from muscular tension

On top of being heart healthy, massage is just a great way to show love to the most important person in your life -- YOURSELF! Self-love is so powerful in treating so many ailments. Plus, it just feels really great to treat yourself.

Please reach out to me if you’d like to treat yourself -- and your heart -- this month with the gift of massage.