There are many different types of massage which aim at producing different physiological outcomes. Today we’re going to focus on both relaxation massage and sports massage. What are the differences between the two one might ask?
A relaxation massage will alleviate fatigue and tension, increase blood flow (which is characteristic of all type of yoga), and settle a stressed mind. Often relaxation massage is more generalist in the mode of touch and covers the entire body from head to toe.
Sports massage is directly aimed at alleviating tension in a particular area of the body, e.g. in the calves, arms or shoulders. Sports massage does address the body as a whole, but it is particularly for increasing the range of motion and speeding up the recovery of soft tissue after training or competition. Melbourne University Sports Centre offers great sports massage options, as do we.
Depending on your bodily issues, or your state of mind, try a relaxation massage or sports massage today.
Much research is now finding that massage of the neck, back, shoulders, abdomen and legs is contributing to the reduction of hypertension.
When done by a professional, the pressurised movements of massage stimulate receptors which in turn activate the vagus nerve emerging from the brain. This nerve is responsible for the regulation of our blood pressure throughout the body.
A University of South Florida study conducted in 2005 found that patients who were suffering from high blood pressure who had ten massages of ten minutes over three weeks showed major improvements in blood pressure as compared with the control group that recorded no improvement over the same period of time after having not received massage.
Massage could be the answer to all your blood pressure woes. See our website for more details.
The word ‘Yoga’ actually comes from Sanskrit and refers to any series of disciplined mental, physical and spiritual practices that make up one’s life. The term and hence the actions associated with it originated in ancient India. Even the simple act of performing menial tasks outside or in the home, of course with discipline, is considered a yogic practice.
In the Western world however, we really emphasise the physicality of the practice and often bunch it together with cleansing and meditation. This is not a problem by any means, although it must always be borne in mind that Yoga is much more than this and has its roots from many hundreds of years ago. We will take Yoga in a Western sense of the word.
What is the purpose of Yoga? Very generally, it is performed with a goal in mind, and the attainment of that goal is the number one objective. For most, this is achieving peace in your mind and simultaneously in your body.
Yoga is also highly technical and requires training to the highest degree to avoid injury and misinformation. Yoga teachers are found world-wide but it’s quite the task to find an experienced and well-trained one.
Give Yoga a thought, and think about the benefits that it could bring to your existence. Be mindful always though of a good and a poor teacher, their teaching style and the experience they possess.
Abdominal massage often gets overlooked when considering the benefits of massage overall. We are so focused on the pain in our back, neck, shoulders and legs that we neglect the abdomen.
It is an extremely important part of the body, housing organs such as the stomach, intestine and liver. As such, abdominal massage (that is, massage and stimulation of the abdominal area through petrissage and other massage techniques) can aid digestion, alleviate gastric issues, and relax the nerves, of which there are many in this part of the body.
Bad eating habits (eating too fast and the food itself), stress and anxiety can manifest in the abdominal region, and this area becomes extremely tight and sensitive. When constipation is an issue, massage can also stimulate bowel movements.
At The Karma Studio, we are one of very few places in Melbourne that offer abdominal massage. The benefits are numerous, so consider abdominal massage today!
What does it mean to you to help others? Generosity seems to be the most overused word in the English language at the present time, and we all go on and on about how important it is to give ourselves to others: our time, our money, our knowledge, anything. We all strive to be ‘generous’, but is it really for the benefit of others, of those less fortunate than ourselves? Or is a generous act something we undertake to boost our social image, our ego, our sense of self-importance.
Many companies nowadays have Corporate Social Responsibility objectives to meet. Whether this involves making a regular donation of a proportion of its profits to a charity, or funding socially- or environmentally-minded projects, there’s no doubt that this is a wholesome and humane thing to do, but the cynic in all of us niggles in the back of our mind that Corporate Social Responsibility is merely a company’s effort to self-aggrandise, to boost its image of doing ‘good’ in the community and thus to boost its sales. Some may purchase products or services from a particular company because they assume that that company is ‘responsible’.
However, at the end of the day, optimism is always more ideal when considering the state of the planet, mankind’s behaviour, our own day-to-day actions and the motivations for doing such things.
To give to others, in a completely selfless way, without the expectation that you will acquire anything in return, is of utmost importance to living a healthy and satisfying life. Today, right at this moment, is the time for us all to lift ourselves out of self-pity and the typical “woe is me” victim mentality of the 21st Century Western World and to consider those who possess less than you; and not only possession in the materialistic sense of the word. Of course, we must consider those who haven’t a garment on their back, a roof over their head, or a coin in their pocket. But we also must consider those without family or friends, those in mental or physical despair, those without aspiration nor the means to reach the commonly quoted “self-actualisation”.
Having considered people like this, anyone that you believe is having a hard time in any respect, give! A smile is a form of giving, a simple ‘hello’ is too. A pat on the back can go a long way to improving someone’s day. On a larger scale, donate your time or money to a cause you know and trust, and don’t be shy to initiate your own project. Selfless generosity is always key.
There’s no arguing that the mango is hands-down one of the most popular fruits on the planet. And there’s no wonder why.
With its distinct smell and flavour, smooth cool texture and versitility, the mango is consumed on almost every continent of the globe.
It is used in almost every Asian cuisine whether in sweet or savoury dishes, and hailed as the “Fruit of the Gods” and used in countless desserts in many European nations. The mango tree belongs to a family that also includes cashews and pistachios.
The mango has notable health benefits too. The fruit is great for those suffering from high-acidity in the gut, the fruit’s enzymes neutralising acids and aiding indigestion.
Furthermore, the Vitamin E present in mango regulates sex hormones and boosts sex drive. For diabetics too, mango leaves serve as a fighter against the debilitating condition. Soak some mango leaves in water overnight, filter the water in the morning and drink on an empty stomach.
Written by Alex Jeffares. Information courtesy Health Mango.
I am writing to you from a city in the southern Philippines called Davao. As most of you will know I am spending three weeks here in an orphanage, as I came here from my holiday in Indonesia. It is called the Field of Dreams, a wonderful albeit small institution about which I have learnt much in my short time here. It is however located about 40 kilometres out of the city proper. It was founded by an Englishman by the name of Mr. Field who lives in London. But because of a terminal illness of some kind he can’t continue to provide funds for the Field of Dreams and as such they are in a dire financial position.
The orphanage houses 30 boys between the ages of 4 and 20, and has been established since 2006. There are no girls. Unlike in Australia and other Western countries, establishments in the Philippines like the Field of Dreams do not receive any financial support from the Filipino government whatsoever. It is for this reason that they rely heavily on the presence of volunteers like myself, donations (which are few), as well as the constant efforts of the staff here and in Davao proper and elsewhere on the island of Mindanao who source the volunteers and other means of finance.
Boys here have either been abandoned by their parents, neglected or they are here due to indigence. It is the heart-wrenching reality of the situation but nevertheless one that we all must come to terms with as the state of the planet worsens in almost every respect, and those at the lowest rungs of the world’s economic and social ladder suffer the most. But my heart is warmed by the people who work here, and of course the boys themselves who are incredibly tactile, trusting and respectful.
The staff here is comprised of ‘house parents’, of whom there are four, and each having shifts like a normal job. There is George, or as we say in Filipino, ‘Kuya George’, which literally means ‘big brother’. George is the Director of the orphanage who is indefatigable in running the establishment. The boys call me ‘Kuya Alex’. This, coupled with the fact that children and adolescents as old as 20 will hold your hand, pull it towards them and place the back of your hand to their forehead as a sign of grace and respect, has quickly fostered within me a deep admiration of Filipino society and the way in which it teaches children from very young the virtues of respect, kindness and humility. This is something I regret to say I feel is lacking in Australia. I for one am guilty of neglecting these virtues, and at my peril.
Mornings start at 5am, and I’ve made a conscious effort to get up at this time too. Bed time is between 8.30 and 9pm which is perfect for me as my glandular fever continues to abate. Occasionally I get a raspy throat but nothing like what I had before I left. Like in most other tropical countries, the early rise is to make the most of a day that, at about midday, becomes insufferably hot and sticky. The boys go to school after prayer, breakfast and exercise, to mingle with other children from around the village and learn. I’ve also been constant in my attendance at school. I sit in the classes that are taught in English, namely math and science in the capacity of teaching assistant, I suppose you could call it. This is important for me so that I understand the subject matter for when the boys return home. I run tutorials with the boys in the afternoons and evenings in their ‘study room’. Some boys are extremely eager to get assistance, but most are not. The level of education here, as one would imagine, is extremely low. English is not strong and the kids struggle on a daily basis. Every Tuesday, the Sisters from the local church come to give lessons on religion and good morals.
The Philippines is steeped in Catholic tradition, but there are however a number of boys here who were Muslims when they arrived but have since been ‘converted’. A small number of the boys also question the existence of a God. Both Hinduism and Buddhism don’t really feature in the parts of the country to which I’ve been. However I understand that in Manila there are more of these religions.
I was also astonished to learn from my new Filipino friend Glyd that the Philippines possesses 7107 islands at low tide!
As some of you will recall when asking for donations of art materials, paper, toys etc., I strictly requested no books, and I now know why. The shelves in their ‘study room’ are replete with textbooks, encyclopaedias and novels, some in English, others in Filipino. Thank you again to those generous enough to donate things for me to take on my trip. You can be confident of the fact that they are going directly into young hands that use them to their fullest, until tattered, battered and bruised.
We will soon be going on a day trip at the weekend for which I will pay. It is always the burden of the volunteers to either pay for the petrol for the orphanage’s truck when picked up or dropped off somewhere, or when taking the boys on excursions. While I was at a convention (Liwanag Festival on Creativity and Sustainability) in Davao city, I made some new friends who took me to an island called Samal which is home to some stunning beaches. I have learned that volunteers in the past have taken the boys here, so I will do the same and go back there with the boys. We will take buses, a boat and then a ‘hubbil hubbil’ which means motorcycle, to swim and enjoy the beach; a rare opportunity for the boys as they cannot normally afford it.
There is one boy in particular who has taken quite a shine to me. His name is Otep and I tutor him regularly in the ‘study room’ and sit with him during his classes. But management here worries about his academic and developmental progress and some even suspect him of having a mental condition of some kind. There is a mental institution for the challenged and the insane nearby to which we went on my first day on the way from the airport. Otep’s parents are absent: they are not spoken of, maybe dead or indigent I do not know. He has a grandfather in Davao and an aunt in Manila but neither will take him for they feel that if they did it would be their end. I am deeply troubled by the thought of a boy of 14 years being in such a precarious situation, but he seems to cope from day to day. Who knows what the future will hold for him and many of his ‘brothers’ here?
There are a number of younger boys, between 5 and 9 years old, who are very clingy. I try to give them as much attention as I can because I cannot imagine what it has been like growing up with neither a mother nor a father. One in particular called Jericho is fascinated by my hands. He will sit with me for minutes on end, pressing my fingers and watching the redness turn to white and then back to red again as the blood circulates. His hands by the way are about the size of a 3-year-old and he is 8. But most Filipinos are very small in their stature and consequently their limbs. To them I am a foreign giant, quite literally, and I think I’m looked at even more than when I was in India. But a soft smile will always elicit a coy smile back, and they quickly turn away.
There are also two older boys, the same as age as me, who go into the city to a TAFE-style college where they learn a trade. One is learning mechanics, the other hotel management. The eldest, Richard, has requested that I teach him how to read music so that he can improve his skills on the violin. This I will also endeavour to do. But because I’ve learnt the viola it may take a while for me to re-learn the violin first! The boys have many questions about my studies, as do the staff. Questions about money are also numerous. Rose, one of the house parents, asked me how much it had cost me to come to the Philippines, and after having made the conversion into Pesos, it was something in the realm of $100,000 Pesos. She was astounded. Here, money is hard to come by. Therefore I am trying to practise gratitude more and more; for we are so very lucky to live where we live, to eat what we eat, and to experience what we experience.
For now, I will end my letter to you here. I hope that you are all well and making the most of your busy lives, and know that I am grateful for all of you that have filled my life with much joy, friendship and love. Take a moment, when you have one, to think about those less fortunate than yourselves.
Stress, anxiety and other related issues are some of those things of which we need a little. In our day-to-day lives at work and at home, in our pursuits and endeavours, stress is the normal human reaction to pressurised circumstances. It is necessary so that we stay on our guard, avoid complacency or error, it heightens our awareness and actually produces better outcomes. But when one has too much stress over a prolonged period of time, that’s where the problems arise.
Even if you think that you’re a person who isn’t prone to stress, who has a good handle on most things that life throws at you, monitor yourself and try to identify some of the less noticeable signs: fine hand tremors, dilated pupils and sensitivity to noise.
Take some time everyday for yourself. A dear friend of mine calls it “Me Time”. I used to scoff at it thinking she was wasting good time taking an hour every evening for herself to indulge in the things she loves to do. But I now know how wrong I was.
Christmas is a celebratory time: one particular day and of course the weeks leading up to it when people buzz around like crazed insects, often unthinkingly. Preparations are essential: “obligatory” gifts for friends, loved ones and colleagues; party planning; Christmas cards; travel plans for the big day, or the lavish and long summer holidays that will ensue.
But while we make such preparations, and while we fill our minds and external lives with the things we “must” do, we forget the essence of Christ-mas (to avoid the stock-standard and dismally over-used term ”the true meaning of Christmas”, although the two terms mean exactly the same thing).
Undoubtedly, this essence is at everybody’s heart: the desire, if not the innate need, to be with and close to family and friends, to celebrate with one another, share a meal (or three, or five), to share and receive stories, love and the customary material gift. But the “need” and the “desire” become blown out, enlarged to the extreme and often so much so that we lose sight of this essence. It is overshadowed by consumerism, gluttony and vanity. The best gifts are given to impress, the biggest parties thrown to shatter all previous ones, the social buzz that comes from sending hundreds of sparsely-worded and often meaningless cards with messages of a “Merry Christmas” and a “Happy New Year” therein, words which are often already printed, saving us the hassle and effort of writing the words from our hearts ourselves.
By no means should these festivities and preparations cease. Rather, continue this, but always keep firmly lodged in mind the reason for all these things. Christmas is a time for messages of peace and comradeship to be circulated around, a time for loving others, such love you wish to be done unto you, a time for generosity of one’s spirit and whole person.
Our heart, among other organs, is central to our wellbeing. It pumps blood around our bodies to every other organ. Experts say it beats approximately 2.5 billion times throughout a human’s lifespan. What a job! So why not nurture it and live a longer life.
Exercise: we all know that exercise is essential to a healthy heart and mind. Simply 20 minutes to half an hour per day is sufficient. It gives oxygen to the cardiovascular system and reduces body fat.
Vitamin E: antioxidants reduce oxidative damage to heart muscle. Almonds are high in this vitamin. Cholesterol levels are maintained from regular Vitamin E intake.
Salt: it’s common knowledge that salt hardens arteries and damages the heart as a result. We actually get enough salt from the natural foods we consume everyday, so avoid processed foods which contain unnecessary quantities of salt: chips, processed meats and even bread.
Stress: work, studies and life in general can have a huge impact on our stress levels. High stress increases our heart rate, making the organ work harder. Prioritise for time-out at the close of each day. Yoga helps immensely with decreasing heart rate and stilling the mind.
Thanks to Nature’s Own www.naturesown.com.au for the information under this section. We recommend their website.