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Posts Tagged ‘Massage’

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

For some time, the research behind massage therapy has shown that massage can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and improve the ability to get good nights sleep.

In the Institute for Integrative Health Care, Leslie DeMatteo, LMT, MS,  wrote a good article that sums up the symptoms of anxiety and explains that the way massage therapy helps is to help you sleep more soundly and massage also reduces muscle pain.  For more details, read the article here!

Massage reduces anxiety!

Massage reduces anxiety!

Want the “official word” On anxiety and massage therapy? Read the American Massage Therapy Associations position statement with multiple research articles referenced here.

If you are in Chicago and want to reduce your anxiety,  stop by one of our chair massage locations inside Whole Foods and let us help you relax…in minutes!

 

7 days a week, we reduce anxiety and muscle pain at Whole Foods Lincoln Park and Whole Foods Gold Coast

7 days a week, we reduce anxiety and muscle pain at Whole Foods Lincoln Park and Whole Foods Gold Coast

 

 

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Lately in Chicago, we’ve had record-breaking weather. Freezing cold temps with below zero wind chills. Snowstorms and black ice on the road. Driving is hazardous, but waiting outdoors for public transportation can seriously jeopardize one’s safety. In extreme survival situations, humans tend to huddle together for warmth. The human body produces its own heat and sharing heat with another person can be lifesaving in some circumstances and simply pleasant when the cold is not life threatening.

One way to warm up your muscles in this weather is to move around. (I’d use the word exercise but some people hate the idea of exercising.) Jumping jacks, jogging in place, any full body movement that is easy to do and spreads warmth through your body by increasing blood flow can help warm you up.

Working Well Massage Lincoln Park

Working Well Massage Lincoln Park

Another way to warm up your muscles is to receive a massage. The other day I stopped by our Working Well Massage booth inside While Foods Gold Coast and received a wonderful body warming massage by Najat, one of our WWM Massage therapists. The booth was cold, but Najat turned the heat on my legs and her hands warmed my back and arms. Despite the cold weather and wind whistling outside, for 20 minutes,  I was warm and dry.

Today, January 27, 2014, our WWM Gold Coast massage booth at 30 W. Huron is closed due to the extremely cold weather and our location the windows.

HOWEVER, our WWM Lincoln Park chair massage  booth is still open from Noon to 8pm today.

If you are daring to brace the cold, “Chigarctica” weather in Chicago today, and feel a need to have warm hands knead your cold muscles and bring warmth and comfort to your body, stop by and let Rania and Yuriy give you a relaxing, soothing massage. And grab some warm tasty food in the food court. Or you can do some jumping jacks and run in place instead. Which is also effective at warming you up, but not as relaxing!

What: Relaxing chair massage at WWM chair massage station inside Whole Foods Market Lincoln Park

Where: 1550 N Kingsbury (South of North Avenue and Old Navy, North of Division)

Hours: Daily, 12 Noon to 8p.m.

Cost: $6 for 5 minutes, $12 for 10 minutes, $18 for 15 min and $24 for 20 minutes, $35 for 30 minutes

For more info click here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

The team from Working Well Massage, the company that helps Chicagoans work well with increased relaxation and a better ability to handle stress, wishes all of our readers and clients a very happy, and hopefully relaxing, Labor Day.

Sue Shekut, Owner of Working Well Massage

Sue Shekut, Owner of Working Well Massage

Both of our Chicago area chair massage stations are open this weekend from  12 Noon to 8.p.m. So this Labor Day weekend, feel free to stop in and let us labor to relax you on your precious few days off of your regular work schedule.

WWM Chair Massage Locations

Working Well Massage Gold Coast Chair Massage Station
30 West Huron Street
(between Dearborn and State Streets)
Chicago, Illinois 60654
Free parking: Underground lot. Enter off Dearborn Street going Northbound.

Working Well Massage Lincoln Park Chair Massage Station
1550 N. Kingsbury
(between North Avenue and Division Street)
Chicago, Illinois 60642
Free parking: available in the garage, enter on Kingsbury

How Chair Massage Works at Working Well Massage stations inside Whole Foods Market

Drop in and sign up for your chair massage. (Clients must be in the store to sign up for massage because we do not take phone appointments for in store sessions.) If you come right up t the booth and someone is already receiving a massage, check with our massage therapist on duty ans ask how long the wait will be. You can usually get a massage within 20 minutes Which gives you time to shop and sample many of the delicious foods Whole Foods Market has to offer!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

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Today we remember those past military personnel that gave their lives for our freedoms.  For many, Memorial Day   is a day to grieve and remember past loved ones that served in the military. It is also a day of rest, picnics and time to get together with friends and families.

However you spend your Memorial Day this year, we at Working Well Massage wish you well and safe travels. And if you need a massage on your day of, our chair massage stations are open regular hours all day from Noon to 8pm at both Lincoln Park and Gold Coast Whole Foods.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

For the past few years, I’ve been reading and learning more about evidence-based practices, research methods, and, sadly, the paucity of solid research backing up the medical benefits of massage therapy. While some members of the massage community are diligently working to improve the quality and quantity of massage research, there are many misconceptions about massage that have been taught to massage therapists in massage school and then passed on to massage clients. Some of these misconceptions have to do with the idea that “massage releases toxins” (technically, it does not and what people mean by “toxins”is unclear as well), that you must drink water after a massage (often as way to “flush” these said” toxins”). Some massage therapists and massage clients believe massage is a healing modality and that massage can release muscle “knots,”  While massage can reduce muscle tension, the conceptualization of knots in our muscles is misleading.  Many of these claims have either been seriously called into question, or explained to be misconceptions caused by massage school instructors trying to simplify physiological explanations.

More will be revealed about how massage therpy works

More will be revealed about how massage therapy works

That all said, I do believe that massage has some physical, mental and possibly, medical benefits. I do believe that most massage therapists genuinely want to help people feel better, want to use massage as  a healing tool and are doing their best to teach clients what they know about the benefits of massage. And I think that while it is important to understand the mechanism of how massage therapist works on our bodies and minds, for now until the research we need pours forth, I would like to propose a few simple explanations as to how massage can benefit us:

1. Most massage therapy, whether performed on a massage chair or massage table, puts the person being massaged into a really relaxing comfortable position. And in our culture, people rarely have a chance to relax or just sit. If we sit down to relax, we often think we are being lazy or unproductive. So giving ourselves permission to get a massage “for our health” or to “reduce stress” allows us to give ourselves permission to sit down and do relatively nothing for a period of time. It’s not magical. It’s not mystical. But relaxing is good for our health. By sitting down or laying down for a period of time, from 10 minutes to an hour or more, allows our nervous systems to move from sympathetic (fight or flight adrenaline pumping mode) to parasympathetic resting and digesting mode).

Just laying down on a massage table is relaxing

Just laying down on a massage table is relaxing

This may seem obvious to you, and you may think, “well what’s the big deal about that?” The big deal is this, in my experience few people in this culture will take the time to just sit down and do nothing or to lay down and relax, especially during a work day or when the kids needs help with homework or they want to spend time with friends. Relaxing is only socially acceptable if we do it in a structured environment like during a massage or while doing meditation. (Even though yoga was originally designed to calm the nervous system and relax the body, in the U.S., we even add words like “power” to yoga and add weight training to a yoga session! Which in my view, really defeats the purpose of doing yoga in the first place.)

2. Another aspect of our culture is that we are super “busy”…and often touch deprived. Our to do lists have to do lists. If we are not accomplishing, if we are not helping kids, parents or friends or making money (or being good consumers by spending money) we are not being “responsible, we are not being “productive” and we are not being “good” parents, children, neighbors, workers, bosses, employees, friends, community members. We are, in an unspoken way, not supposed to take time for ourselves (unless it is to work out, “power” style) because that is considered to be “selfish.” But getting a massage lets a person take care of him or herself without guilt. Instead of this being a selfish act, getting a massage is now seen an act of self caring. If we do not take care of ourselves, we cannot give to others because we will be too sick or too stressed out to be of much use! When you get a massage we allow ourselves to say, “hey this is my hour, or my ten minutes and I want the attention to be on me. I want to feel good, I want to be touched in a positive,  kind way, without the touch feeling sexual or violent or ticklish. And it is for my health so it’s okay in this instance for me to do something for my self.

Getting a massage gives you a little window of time for self care

Getting a massage gives you a little window of time for self care

Likely down the road, we will be able to use science to explain the psychology of massage through random clinical trails. Someday soon we will be able to point to research that shows more specifically how one person touching another via massage actually causes the recipient’s nervous system to shift into parasympathetic mode. But for now, I am content in my own explanations. I know my clients, and clients of other Working Well Massage therapists, benefit from our massages. I know people relax and enjoy getting massages. The science will come. Until then, we will keep providing relaxation, comfort and care to massage clients. And we will acknowledge and encourage their willingness to take care of themselves.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

When you think of health insurance companies, what comes to mind first about them? (And, no, this is not a commercial!)  Is it that your health insurance company is a great source of healthful tips on managing stress, improving your health and saving you money on health care costs? Well, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois does more than just process insurance claims. They provide some really helpful info about your health! The Blue Cross website provides members with tips to beat the holiday blues here.  

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And note that I am not paid by BCBS nor do I have any stock in the company. But I do think their website is a great service, even if you are not a member!

Among the helpful healthful tips: keep your holiday expectations realistic. Not low, but realistic. What this means varies from person to person. During this holiday season, there are a lot of invitations to events, gifts to buy, end of year financial obligations to handle. And for those with children in homes that celebrate Christmas, presents to buy, hide and wrap. It’s a time of family and friend visits and parties. But we still all have to go to work, school or take care of children or elderly loved ones. And adding high expectations (that everything be perfect, that our loved ones will love every gift we get them, that we can work, shop, cook and still maintain our health despite many additional demands without compromising anything) adds significant stress to our lives.

This holiday season, give yourself the gift of relaxation, either by getting a relaxing massage, taking time out to sit in a hot bath, going to the gym to work off some stress, meditation, resting, stopping and taking a walk in the woods or by the lake (bundle up though!). Your heart, your pancreas, your blood pressure will all benefit as you remove yourself from the face pace of the holiday shopping frenzy and let your body rest and recharge.

Here are some of my tips on maintaining your health and not overdoing during the holiday season:

• When someone asks you to take on one more event or obligation, say “let me think about it.”  Then take the time to really think if you have time and energy to take this on, if the event is more important than other obligations you may have, and then give your denial or approval.

• Make a list of all the extra holiday related things you need to do in the next month. Then check your list and decide if anything can go or be done in an easier way. For example, you can shop in a store or you can save time and shop via the internet. I hate to beat the death knoll for big box stores and retail shopping, but when people are pressed for time, shopping online saves the hassle of fighting through long lines and heavy traffic and lets you check an item off your to do list without leaving your computer.

• Consider giving less gifts and giving more of yourself. Not to contradict myself, but instead of rushing around to save a few bucks on the latest electronic gift or trendy item that will likely be unused and relegated to the closet  soon after unwrapping, consider giving gift certificates or coupons either for actual professional services (spa, dinner, movie passes) to be enjoyed along with you or make home made certificates for future events with you. A dinner, a back rub, a vacation, a plan for a hike, a walk, an afternoon in any of the fabulous museums in Chicago (which have free days for the budget conscious). Whatever you and your family and friends like to do together when the holidays are over and you all have more free time to spend with one another.

• Commit to spending at least 10 minutes a day laying down, either on a bed, on the floor or on a mat. All you need to do is be comfortable, focus on your breathing (counting as you breathe in out with a 4-count for inhalation and a 4-count for your exhalation) and let your thoughts come and go without getting to attached to any one thought. (Trust me, those thoughts and to do lists will be there after 10 minutes of rest and relaxation.)

• Commit to spending at least an hour a day unplugged no phone, no television, no game system, no computer. Whether you spend the hour talking in person to loved ones or whether you simply stare out the window and pet your cat, just spend one hour a day not using electronic devises and not responding to the call of a phone, television commercial or email. If the thought of doing this panics you, then you need that hour more than most!

 Overall, do less, slow down and ENJOY the time you have with those you love. Then just to prove you are not in such a rush that you forget to be kind, let the guy or gal in front of you in line or on the street. That small act of kindness may just make you feel a little less stressed and a little more in the holiday spirit!
And (shameless plug for self-promotion), feel free to stop by our Working Well Massage chair stations inside the Whole Foods Markets in the Gold Coast (30 W Huron) and Lincoln Park (1550 N Kingsbury) any time from noon to 8pm daily. No appointment needed! Just stop in and in 10 or 15 or 20 minutes we can help you feel less stressed and more relaxed! Click here for our website with more information.
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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I’ve been taking Pilates lessons from Jacob Greathouse for the past few months and I love how it’s working for me! As a long time yoga practitioner, I appreciate Jacob’s attention to detail and the way he is raising my awareness of specific muscle groups and body movements in our Pilates sessions. I’ve known Jacob for a few years now, having first met him as a personal trainer and then working with him to help me improve my swim strokes and water aerobics techniques. I really enjoy working with Jacob because he  knows his anatomy, is super patient and nonjudgmental and he approaches each session with enthusiasm and a sense of humor.

Jacob Greathouse, founder of be fitness & wellness embodying fitness and wellness every day!

Jacob grew up in Louisiana but you would never know because he barely has a Southern accent after living in Chicago for the past several years. Jacob shares his personal journey to wellness on his website: “As a child, my family taught me the importance of spirituality. My mother, a former college athlete and coach, instilled the importance of health and exercise. This combination of spirituality and physical health lead to my search for a more integrative approach to life and wellness as they work hand in hand with each other. I continued developing the spiritual side through my college education and continued the physical side through years as an Emergency Medical Technician and a Personal Trainer.

To further my holistic understanding with fitness & wellness, I received a master’s degree in Divinity and completed studies in yoga practice, philosophy and Thai massage in America and Thailand. It is out of these experiences, that my own personal philosophy of living, working, playing, and being as whole individuals – mind, body, and spirit – has coalesced into what we now know as be fitness & wellness.

When mind, body and spirit are challenged, all three can develop in balance; we embrace our challenges and personal growth occurs.”

Jacob also recently graduated from the New School of Massage and is now a Licensed Massage Therapist. Jacob has also studied Thai massage in Thailand. He can give both Swedish massages as well as Thai massages. Jacob”s website is befitnessandwellness here.

Between Pilates, fitness classes and his own Ironman training, Jacob’s abs are strong enough to demo Pilates moves in excellent form!

Jacob’s philosophy for his company, Befitnessandwellness from his website: be fitness & wellness seeks to address the whole person: mind, body and spirit. Traditional models of fitness and wellness usually focus on only one of these three areas. At be, we work with you and develop a plan to set realistic, balanced and challenging goals. be’s primary objective is not to attain a specific body weight, a physical or mental ability or a level of enlightenment, but to help you find your personal best. be assists you in reaching your “best” and encourages you to make your “best” – your everyday state of be-ing.

Jacob Greathouse showing off his Pilates training mad moves!

Jacob currently is completing his training in Pilates instruction at Body Endeavors, a beautiful very spacious studio in Lincoln Park on Halsted  near the Lincoln Park Whole Foods Market. Want to hire Jacob for a massage, fitness or Pilates session? Check out his pricing structure here.

Jacob Greathouse demonstrates every move he expects me to do which greatly helps me understand where to position my body in a Pilates exercise.

Want to know more about Pilates? Check out Body Endeavors website and FAQ here.

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