Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Guide to Back and Neck Pain – from YooHealth

Back and neck pain can be incredibly inconvenient and have a massive impact on our daily lives. There are a number of different causes, each of them ranging from mild to severe. Whether your pain is fleeting or chronic, there is no need to suffer in silence.

In this guide, we look at back pain relief, back pain treatment, and the causes behind it. Additionally, we also explore neck pain relief, neck pain causes, and treatment for it, all in an effort to help you understand more about your condition and the ways in which you can make life a little easier.

Mental Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

Thanks to Joe Neely, Massagetique Correspondent

Today’s medical researchers have found massage therapy can provide benefits to those who experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Experts have shown many types of massage therapy can be a great complement to psychotherapy for treating certain conditions. Here are some conditions massage therapy can have an effect on:

1. Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues, and both can negatively impact lives. Studies have shown massage therapy can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Researchers at Taiwan’s E-Da Hospital and College of Medicine reviewed 17 scientific studies involving 786 people. The findings showed massage had many positive benefits for people experiencing depression and led to a reduction in symptoms. At Japan’s Kyushu University, a team of experts found facial massage soothed participants’ physiological distress. They concluded that massage activated participants’ sympathetic nervous system, reducing their anxiety and improving their mood.

Before your next massage, ask your practitioner to help you choose treatments options that address your depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issues.

2. Neurotransmitter and Hormone Balance

Researchers have shown massage therapy activates neurotransmitters that can decrease anxiety and lower stress hormone levels. At the University of Miami School of Medicine, researchers found massage therapy had positive effects on people who were experiencing a range of mental health issues, including depression, eating disorders, and stress. The research team found about a 30% increase in serotonin and dopamine levels in the study participants who underwent massage, as well as a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. These findings suggest massage was responsible for an increase in feel-good neurotransmitters and a decrease in stress.

3. Blood Pressure and Circulatory Issues

A massage therapist can help lower your heart rate as well as your systolic (pumping) and diastolic (resting) high blood pressure.

At Iran’s Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, a researcher compared two groups of 25 women. One group received 10-15 minutes of Swedish massage three times a week for a total of 10 sessions; the women in the other group relaxed in the same environment, but did not receive massages. The researchers found massage caused a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure that persisted for as many as three days after treatment.

A researcher at the University of South Florida studied the effects of back massage on hypertension (high blood pressure) and found blood pressure reductions in study participants who received massage. Those reductions lasted for two days after treatment.

If you experience high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about adding massage therapy to your current course of treatment. Though massage helps many people, it may not be an advised solution for everyone, especially if you have deep-vein thrombosis (blood clots). Make sure to talk to your physician before scheduling a massage appointment.

4. Alleviating Symptoms of Illness or Disease

People with life-threatening illnesses or diseases often experience anxiety and depression that can exacerbate their condition. Massage therapy can greatly increase quality of life, freeing up mental and physiological resources to fight off disease. Many physicians recommend massage as a complementary therapy to medical care for its healing power and low incidence of side effects.

At the Columbia University Medical Center, experts studied children with cancer and found massage therapy helped manage many side effects of cancer treatment, including pain, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and reduced immune function.

A University of Miami research team found study participants with AIDS had less anxiety, stress, anger, and overall mood issues after receiving massage therapy and learning home care relaxation techniques. The people who were treated by massage therapists had lower norepinephrine (a neurotransmitter linked to depression) levels as compared to a control group.

5. Veterans’ Mental Health

Researchers recently published a paper in the journal Military Medicine describing the reintegration process for National Guard members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The researchers followed service members and their partners for eight weeks as part of a pilot program to develop treatments for returning veterans. They found massage therapy helped veterans relieve pain, irritability, tension, worry, anxiety, and depression.

At the Fort Bliss Restoration and Resilience Center, clinical psychologist John Fortunato puts people experiencing posttraumatic stress through a rigorous and comprehensive regimen of therapies, including different types of massage. These therapies helped veterans turn off their hyperaroused survival mechanisms, learn to relax again, and get the healthy sleep their bodies needed. Of the 37 soldiers in the program, only two had to take medical discharges from service. Twelve of the service members returned to active duty.

6. Work-Related Stress in Health Care Professionals

Mayo Clinic researchers recently studied 38 nurses who received chair massages (one of the quickest and simplest forms of massage therapy) once a week for 10 weeks during work hours. The health care professionals who received massage therapy experienced a reduction in many stress-related symptoms, including joint and muscle pain, shoulder tension, fatigue, headaches, and insomnia.

No matter your line of work, regular massage therapy can increase your health, well-being, and stamina. Many organizations hire massage therapists to lower employee stress levels and improve productivity. Not only can a massage break feel good and improve morale, research shows it can also improve workplace efficiency.
Is Massage Therapy Right for You?

If you think massage therapy is right for you, check with your doctor to be sure. Find a licensed massage practitioner with specialized training for working with any preexisting conditions you may have, so the therapist can meet your particular needs and maximize the benefits massage therapy can provide. Share details of your medical history, tests, treatments, and any other relevant information with your massage therapist so your sessions can be adjusted accordingly.

Is Distance Reiki Just as Effective?

This article was originally posted on on June 1, 2016.

Many Reiki practitioners offer Distance Reiki sessions. What does that mean and does it work?

First we must understand what Reiki is and how it works. The word “Reiki” breaks down to this:

“Rei” – universal, trascendental spirit, essence

“Ki” – Qi (Chi) or life force energy, the energetic building block of life

Life force energy flows into and through all things. It is part of us, our consciousness, soul, and physical being – connecting us. Our Qi can become imbalanced in various ways and for a myriad of reasons – emotional trauma, our ancestral karma, giving too much without receiving or replenishing enough, etc. Reiki can refill and refresh these imbalances, helping us to heal and strengthen our Qi.

We are all connected through this life force energy. Let’s imagine a spider’s web, a giant one that spans the Universe with each strand connecting to every animal, insect, person, pool of water, inanimate object, etc. On this web, one small movement from a flea will generate vibrations felt throughout, and all the way to the opposite end of the web. In this way, we can imagine that when we use the web of energy to intend to send Reiki over a distance, it will create ripples and be received in full force.

This web also allows Reiki to transcend not only space, but time. Everything is connected. Past occurrences still affect us. Today’s actions will affect our future. The possibility of what lies ahead affects our now. The energy of those events, who we were, are, and will be, can be tapped into with a mere memory, thought, or intention.

Energy works through intentions. Reiki is a specific channel of energy, well-known for its ability to never harm nor be forced upon anyone. This makes Reiki one of those perfect little morsels of Life. Reiki resonates only with intentions that align with our highest good in mind. It is a form of healing energy that correct’s our Qi’s imbalances and deficiencies, and though I may facilitate the flow of Reiki, the receiver is truly the one at the helm and will let the energy know if, when, and where to go.

Ever randomly thought about someone only to have them call you within days? Or perhaps you’ve felt someone staring at you without even looking? We feel energy. We feel the intentions of others and they feel ours.

So, we’ve got the web of energy and we’ve got intention. When you put them together, you can do any number of things…

Sometimes you’re just too busy to fit yet another appointment into your day. No worries, I’ve queued up your Reiki so that you can receive whenever you ask. Until then, it’s basically just sitting in “the cloud” waiting until you can finally slip into that relaxing bubble bath or settle into bed.

Perhaps you’re in need of some Reiki, but you’ve moved away and haven’t had a chance to check out the local practitioners. That’s OK because you’ve got internet and can shoot me an email asking for a Distance Reiki session. Problem? What problem?

So, does Distance Reiki work? YES! It is different than receiving Reiki in person? Yes! In-person interactions always feel different and have amenities that distance sessions never will. However, the Reiki, without a doubt, is just as effective!

When you book your Distance Reiki appointment, we’ll discuss how you want to receive it – a specific time, queued up until you ask, however you like. I’ll send the Reiki, pull Oracle Cards from the deck of your choice, then email you with any observations I received and some suggestions to complement your healing process.

Is Distance Reiki Just as Effective? was originally published on

GT_GibsonRanchCourtney Ginn is a certified Reiki and Massage Practitioner. She combines her Usui and Practical (Kundalini) Reiki training with various modalities to create personalized sessions for her human and animal clients alike. For more information, please visit her at GinnTree.

Meditation Challenge(s)

This article originally posted on on December 7, 2015.

via Wondergress, via RealLife

I have always found meditation difficult, a fairly common sentiment. My challenges come in various forms – not being able to develop regular habits, an unusually high (and untimely) amount of itches and fidgets, having a great meditation one day and a really bad one the next, low confidence that I’m doing it well (or right)! I find guided meditation much easier, but I’m determined to develop a strong practice of self-meditation.

Over the years I’ve tried various approaches to meditation, changing the method when I felt that something didn’t work. I thought, “If it doesn’t work, then it probably isn’t for me – the right path should be more clear, right?” Mmmmmmmmaybe not. On my Reiki teacher’s recommendation I picked up Lawrence LeShan’s ‘How to Meditate’, in which he suggests that sticking with a method is worth a try. Consider meditation to be like going to the gym to work out…picture this: it’s a new year and I’m motivated to work out, get fit, and lose weight. It’s been a while since I’ve moved any part of my body except to eat, but I somehow think dumbbells are where I should start. One should be able to lift 20 lbs right? Nope. Well that’s a shame…and a bit embarrassing.

So now, do I give up on the dumbbells? Do I move on to other equipment and maybe try again later? Or do I pick up my pride from the puddle on the floor and see if the 3 and 5 lbs weights are better suited for me? Well I know we’re all saying it…I’d better lower my expectations and try again. Decrease the load. Work at it until I get comfortable and can eventually take on more. We often expect too much of ourselves when we begin a workout or meditation practice. A teacher once told me I should be meditating at least one hour per day. After attempting to do so several times with several “fails”, I became turned off from meditation for a few years. Then a friend suggested I start with 2-5 minute sessions. WHAT?! I can do that? So I did, and though I continue to struggle, the relief from expectation has been amazing.

How to Meditate‘ by Lawrence LeShan

On September 1st I began a 30 day meditation challenge using the the count-your-breaths method similar to the one discussed in LeShan’s book:

Breathe in – 1, Breathe out – 1
Breathe in – 2, Breathe out – 2
etc., counting first to four, working up to 10

It started out really well, but as with most “challenges” I try, my endurance only lasted about two and a half weeks. My meditation frequency dwindled to every other day, to just a few days, until I was only meditating maybe once or twice a week.

Some may see that as failure, but I learned a lot during that challenge:

  • I do better when I meditate in the morning instead of at night.
  • I meditate better with routine and only three days out of the week allow me to have a morning routine.
  • Meditating only three days out of the week is OK right now.
  • I’m just finding my rhythm at the mental gym, so I will have workouts and not-so-good workouts…but at least I’ll be gentle and forgiving with myself.
  • Letting go of meditative expectations makes meditating easier.
  • The method doesn’t necessarily matter, what matters is the work.

Since the challenge I’ve become more comfortable with meditation. I find that my distractions are shorter and I am able to focus on my breath for longer blocks of time. I’m still not great at it, but I definitely see growth! I don’t know if I’ll ever master meditation fully, not that I don’t hope to become really great at it. I will stagnate and I may regress, but that’s OK. It’s all part of the journey.

What are your experiences with meditation? Do you have any suggestions or questions?

Meditation Challenge(s) was originally published on

GT_GibsonRanchCourtney Ginn is a certified Reiki and Massage Practitioner. She combines her Usui and Practical (Kundalini) Reiki training with various modalities to create personalized sessions for her human and animal clients alike. For more information, please visit her at GinnTree.

Reiki Tips: At Home Use

Jeff Sheldon via Unsplash

This article originally posted on on July 14, 2015.

Can’t find time to make an appointment with your Reiki practitioner? Here are a few simple ways you can incorporate Reiki into your daily life to keep you going (many of these involve charging items with Reiki beforehand for use at any time):

  • Bedtime
    • As you lay in bed, set your intention, lay your hands in a comfortable position on or around you, relax, and drift off into blissful sleep.
  • Food and drinks
    • Before you sit down to eat, take a few seconds to cleanse your food (and drinks) of negative energies; the better to nourish your mind, body, and soul.
    • Reiki your teas, coffees, cooking oils, milk, etc after your grocery run so you don’t have to worry about it later.
    • Let your Reiki charged coasters do all the work while you and your guests sit back and relax.
    • This also helps ease and heal past traumas of the plants and animals we consume.
  • Candles
    • Prepared beforehand, you can light them any time for a little extra boost for parties, relaxing after a rough day, or to calm a group of rowdy children.
  • In the washroom
    • Take a bath in Reiki infused water!
    • If you like salts, oils, or herbs in your baths, prep them when you bring them home from the store so you’ll have a little extra Reiki to dip into.
    • Also prepare your soaps and shampoos so they, too, can boost your cleansing routine.
    • Hang a Reiki infused charm from the middle of your shower spout so as the water flows over it, it’ll aid the water’s ability to cleanse you.
  • Technology
    • Reiki your phone cover or a small sticker to put directly on your phone, tv, and computer (etc.) to help clear any negative energies they may emit.
  • Around the home or office
    • Infuse small stones or other objects to put around the room, plants, garden, and pet kennels or bed areas.
    • Get your water delivered? Reiki those water bottles as you change them out.
    • Or maybe you use a water filter. Charge the filters when changing them out. This is a great way for your family, plants, and pet companions to also receive Reiki.
    • If you love gardening, Before planting or transplanting, give Reiki to the seeds, seedings, or root ball. Both you and the local wildlife will benefit from these plants.
  • You CAN take it with you
    • Charge pieces of jewelry and your travel mug so you can receive Reiki when you’re out and about.
Ryan McGuire via Gratisography

As a side note, observe whether Reiki energy increases relaxation or is more stimulating, and during which times of day. If stimulating in the evening, receive Reiki in the morning instead of bedtime and remove Reiki stones from your bedroom for the evening. You may also find that items you charge with Reiki for later use may need recharging once in a while.

And remember: you don’t need to be Reiki attuned to channel loving energy. Set your intention and spread the love :).

What would you add to the list?

Reiki Tips: At Home Use was originally published on

GT_GibsonRanchCourtney Ginn is a certified Reiki and Massage Practitioner. She combines her Usui and Practical (Kundalini) Reiki training with various modalities to create personalized sessions for her human and animal clients alike. For more information, please visit her at GinnTree.

Cords & Karmic Bands

This article originally posted on, June 17, 2015.


One of my dear friends had a co-worker that wiggled her way into my friend’s comfort zone. It started out in a charming way, as many unhealthy relationships do. They became close very quickly, but just as quickly, this co-worker began to mother, smother, and criticize her. A strong note of jealousy blossomed from the co-worker as her true insecurities revealed themselves. My friend attempted to disassociate from her co-worker with great difficulty. Soon enough my friend’s lower back began hurting. She suspected the physical pain was being caused by the unhealthy energetic attachment (cord) from the co-worker. While I worked to pull the cord out during a Reiki session, I began receiving similar feelings and images, validating my friend’s impressions.

Gratisography2So what are Cords? Consider all the relationships we develop throughout our lives – to people, our pets, and even places. We have energetic attachments to all of these, which we refer to as Cords or Karmic Bands. Some are healthy. Sooommmmme…not so much.

We’ve all had relationships that held lingering feelings even when they’ve ended. It’s natural to continue holding attachments – wanted or not, consciously or not. We can’t control who attaches to us and, at times, who we attach to. What, then, can we do to ensure our attachments are healthy? We can work on energetically healing that bond, even withdraw and send it back to it’s original source with love. Sometimes those cords will find their way back, and when they do we can wash, rinse, and repeat.

What do Karmic Bands look like? What do they feel like? Try this simple meditation:

  • Close your eyes, breathe deeply several times, and become aware of your physical, mental, and emotional state.
  • Visualize or feel what the energy around you is like, specifically scanning for any cords radiating from your energy field – there may be more than one.
  • Focus on each one. What do they look like? What do they feel like.
    Are you the source, or is someone else?
  • Follow each Karmic Band to see who’s on the other end. What is the intention behind each cord?
  • As you send healing energy to the cord, also send love down through the cord to whomever is on the other side.
  • Let it detach so that it may find its way back to its owner, whether that’s you or another person.


Maintaining healthy cords:

  • Begin in a similar fashion – breathing deeply and becoming aware of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally.
  • Scan your energy field for any Karmic Bands.
  • “Speak” to it, have a conversation with it regarding the intention of the attachment and any messages it brings.
  • Send thanks and love down the cord to the other side with the intention that this attachment be healthy for the duration of the relationship, for everyone’s highest good.

Of course, these are my preferred methods. Everyone has their own :). Try these meditations as starting points and let them evolve into what works best for you. And remember: not all cords are unhealthy, but it’s good practice to maintain the healthier cords so they continue to be healthy and don’t run away from us.

What are your experiences with maintaining your Karmic Bands?

All photos by Ryan McGuire via Gratisography.

Cords & Karmic Bands was originally published on

GT_GibsonRanchCourtney Ginn is a certified Reiki and Massage Practitioner. She combines her Usui and Practical (Kundalini) Reiki training with various modalities to create personalized sessions for her human and animal clients alike. For more information, please visit her at GinnTree.

Spas, Corporate Massage, CMTs and the Body Café

Zen-SandToday’s massage industry is ever-changing, sometimes confusing, but always exciting in the choices it presents to the massage consumer.

The CMT, or Certified Massage Therapist, is the most commonly accepted standard for a professional massage provider.  LMT and CMP are other standard titles associated with massage professionals. These individuals have gone through many hours of training in massage therapy, anatomy, physiology, ethics, and have had plenty of hands-on training in providing massage.

Traditionally, CMTs have been independent professionals who work from their homes, or rent space individually to provide healing bodywork to their clients.  But times have changed, and now the majority of massage professionals work at a spa or other massage establishment.

Most visible these days are the spas and “corporate” massage establishments.

Continue reading Spas, Corporate Massage, CMTs and the Body Café

Should I receive massage if I am sick?

The Cold and Flu season is upon us and clients wonder if a professional massage will help. When you are sick your immune system is already working hard. Receiving a massage when suffering from a cold or the flu can spread the illness through your body faster than it would happen naturally, flooding your body with infection, worsening symptoms and making the recovery time from the cold or flu longer.

Continue reading Should I receive massage if I am sick?