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Why Getting a Chair Massage is a Smart Financial Move

By Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

Stressed? Achy? Having health problems? All of these things can take make life a little harder. But the good news is that getting regular massages is not only a great way to relieve these problems, it can pay off financially.

How? First, studies have shown that regular chair massages improve people’s health and reduce many kinds of illnesses. This in turn, can reduce the money that you pay in doctor bills and medications. In the workplace, improving your health means that you can be more productive, leaving you in a better position to be considered for a promotion.

Another way that chair massage can improve your financial situation is by improving your mood and happiness. You may be wondering what that has to do with money but the reality is that studies show that happy people tend to make more money. Why? In real life, it’s sometimes hard to be happy when you don’t feel well and aren’t taking care of yourself. When you take a few minutes to rejuvenate your body through massage or other physical activities, you not only make your body feel better but also your mind. And when you mind is more optimistic, you will experience increased ability to be productive and engage positively with coworkers, all of which increase your ability to earn money.

So next time you worry about investing in a massage, exercise or relaxation, remember that the positive impacts can be much great than you might imagine. 

 

Is your work station hurting you?

By Curtis Young, LMT, MTI, and Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

Have you ever gotten through your day of work and your neck, back or some other body part is aching? If so, it may not just be your problem. If your work station is not set up properly, your body could be experiencing unnecessary strain and pain. 

While most businesses do their best to provide proper office equipment for working, many don’t realize that one-size doesn’t fit all when it comes to workplace ergonomics. What might be good for the receptionist isn’t the right configuration for the graphic artist. Or, what works for a 6 foot male, might not be so good for a 5’ 2 inch female. 

The result is aches and pains that prevent people from concentrating on their jobs and being productive - and cause them to rely on pain medications that damage their health in other ways.

To combat these problems, we recommend that each work station be analyzed, as well as any chronic pains the person at the station struggles with. Factors that need to be reviewed include the height, shape and configuration of the monitor, key board, chair and desk in an office setting.

For those in a production, construction or retail sales-oriented business, movements (or lack of) need to be analyzed to help the individual use natural positions to accomplish a task in a safer and more productive manner. 

Once these assessments are made, the work station or environments can be modified to reduce strain as much as possible. Modifications might include everything from a floor matt to a new chair. In some cases, a simple box under a monitor can help.

While some of these assessments and modifications can be done by the employee, there are many businesses who recognize that a methodical assessment of each work station by a professional can lead to a happier and more productive work force that significantly reduces costs for the company.

For example, in a 2008 study by Gallup Healthways, employees who scored low in “life satisfaction,” stayed home an average of 1.25 more days a month, which is 15 lost work days per year. Multiply this by several employees and you can quickly assess the economic value of increasing employee happiness by reducing their physical pain.

This increased happiness can also reduce employee turnover, hiring costs and healthcare premiums – making an ergonomics assessment an excellent return on investment.

Other advantages of having a professional ergonomics analysis done include the expert’s knowledge of the proper measurements and configurations, how to solve common problems with specific professions and the ability to recommend the best tools to solve the problems.

The bottom line is that work place ergonomics is not something to ignore. With today’s understanding of the role health and happiness play into workplace productivity, we have an amazing opportunity to not only increase the success of the individual, but an entire company.

Curtis and Dianna Young are the owners of Amarillo On-Site Massage, a company that specializes in providing chair massage, ergonomic modifications and stress relief classes in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness.

Smart Strategies to Beat Holiday Stress

What stresses you out during the holidays? Finding the perfect gifts? Stretched finances? Holiday parties? Not having enough time for everything that needs to be done? Or perhaps it is the recent loss of a loved one or strained family relationships.

Whatever the reason, stress is the ugly baggage that comes with all the pleasures of the holiday season. It spoils the fun and makes us unable to enjoy ourselves. It messes up our brains and health.  While there are many great stress relief tips, this year we have chosen to focus on those that relate to relationships because in the end, that is what really matters. Here are some strategies to get you on the right track.

  • Remember you aren’t perfect. So nothing you do has to be perfect. Resolve to do your best. That is good enough and will keep you from stressing out your family too.
  • Spend money on doing things, not on stuff. Sure, the kids would love gifts. Get them some. But, research shows that people are happier when they spend money on experiences.  Goods lose their shine after a while but shared experiences bring pleasure each time they are remembered.
  • Resolve to set aside dislikes and differences. Some things, including what people say or do, may seem to be a big deal at the time. Don’t fall for that trap. Ask yourself if these things will matter much in five or ten years and then apply patience, kindness, compassion, empathy and most of all forgiveness to the situation.
  • Be grateful. Positive psychology has a technique called the ‘gratitude visit.' It means listing points and expressing gratitude to people you haven’t thanked for something they have done for you. It’s about building bridges and finding reasons to be grateful. Try it on your strained relationships this holiday season.
  • Seek out laughter and good times. Everyone loves fun and laughter. Create opportunities rather than leaving them to chance. If you have a family, plan a fun outing. If you are lonely, find a meet-up group online based on your interests or look for a church that offers small groups or singles activities.
  • Take Time to Pamper Yourself.
  • Many people are hesititant to do something nice for themselves but as odd as it seems, taking time to do something like getting a massage is another way to strengthen your relationships. When you feel better, you are less likely to take your stress out on your loved ones. So go ahead and schedule that massage. Your family will thank you.

Wherever you are in life right now, we hope these tips will help you have a healthier life and richer experience and during this holiday season.

Merry Christmas!

Curtis Young, LMT, MTI

Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

 

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Cut the Clutter. Cut the Stress!

By Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

Are stacks of paperwork at work and home leaving you feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Whether its piles of bills, invitations, school forms or reports at work, paper work clutter tends to build up over time and can start impacting your stress level and health. The good news is that whatever your circumstances may be, there are smart solutions to help you cut the clutter and create a more relaxed, happier you.

Clear Off Your Desk and Set Priorities

Start by clearing your desk and remove everything except for the project you are working on. Arranging your upcoming tasks into priority levels will help keep your mind focused.

Organize Your Life

Keep your desk clear of excessive paperwork by creating file folders for all of your tasks. Then store them in a vertical position to reduce the amount of desk real estate they consume. Each time you finish a project, file the related paperwork right away and you will feel a stronger sense of accomplishment.

Keep Your Workstation Focused

Another way to reduce stress is by clearing out items that you no longer need and could discard or recycle. To do this, set aside 15-30 minutes at the end of each day to sort and file items.

Take Advantage of Technology

As residents of the 21st century, we have the advantage of computers and mobile devices at our fingertips. See if you can clear up some of your paperwork clutter by scanning and storing documents on your technological devices.

Keep Your Health a Priority

Make sure to schedule working out, eating healthy or relaxation strategies into your daily routine. When you take some time to relax, you will be able to deal with the paperwork more effectively and make faster decisions. It is always important to hold your emotional and physical well-being as a high priority.

Plan Ahead

Start planning for upcoming projects and events well in advance - and make sure to include time for organization in your schedule. When you anticipate your upcoming workload and plan accordingly, you will feel more peaceful when the time arrives and your stress level will be greatly reduced.

Dianna Young is a licensed massage therapist and instructor. She is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with her husband Curtis Young. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness. The pair also teach classes for massage therapists at Amarillo Community College.

 

 

 

4 Tips to Reduce Conflict at Work

Curtis Young, LMT, MTI

Do you ever wake up dreading going to work because of a conflict you are having with your co-worker or boss? If so, you are not alone. A study completed in 2011 indicated that managers spent 18 percent of their work week resolving employee conflicts. So what can you do to reduce the conflicts, prevent stress and increase productivity? Here are 5 tips that can help.

Be Attentive:

When you are discussing a situation with your co-worker or boss, really listen to their interpretation of the situation.  Research has shown attentive listening will result in gathering more information, reduce conflict and increase others to trust in you.  This will help not only with solving that particular issue but also prevent further conflicts in similar situations.

Use Positive Body Language:

The way you present yourself through body movements, facial expression and reactions are very telling to the people around you. Crossing your arms, standing too close to someone in an intense situation or even not standing up straight can cause you to look defensive. Make sure that when you are communicating with your co-workers that you have a relaxed posture, keep your face emotionally attentive and maintain eye contact with the person. 

Take Personality Assessment Tests:

Because we all have different personalities and ways of seeing and handling situations, taking personality assessment tests at work and sharing the results with each other can result in a better understanding of your co-workers, which leads to better communication and less stress in the work place.

Arrange for Mediation:

When conflict is unable to be prevented by the techniques above, it might be time use a third party mediator. This technique creates a neutral environment where both sides can present their concerns and be heard objectively. The important thing to remember is to listen and have a calm and respectful demeanor toward the other person.

While human conflict is a part of life, it doesn’t have to make people dread going to work. By using these techniques, each employee can be happier and more productive, which will lead to better morale for the entire company.  

In addition to being a corporate wellness specialist, Curtis Young is a certified massage therapist and instructor. He is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with his wife Dianna. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness.

 

 

A Counterintuitive Way to Reduce Stress

If you’re tired, depressed or stressed out, the last thing you want to do is help someone else. But according to a recent study by The United Health Group, people who volunteer end up being less stressed and feeling healthier than those who don’t. Check out these statistics.

Out of those who volunteered in the past 12 months,

78 percent said that volunteering lowered their stress levels. Volunteers in the study were more likely to report that they felt calm and peaceful than non-volunteers.

94 percent of the volunteers said volunteering improved their mood. Volunteers scored higher on well-established measures of well being including personal independence, capacity for rich interpersonal relationships and overall satisfaction with life.

80 percent said that they feel they have control over their health. Survey participants who volunteered were more likely to seek out information about their health and to talk to their doctors.

96 percent said that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life. By helping others and making their community a better place, the volunteers were able to learn valuable things about the world and themselves and have a chance to socialize, which all increase their sense of well being.

76 percent said that it made them feel healthier. The volunteers were more likely to consider themselves in good health and report that their health had improved over the past 12 months.

So the moral of the story is - if you are feeling tired, down or stressed, volunteering can make a big difference. It’s not only good for you, but for those you are helping. Volunteering is a lifestyle that is a win-win for everyone.

Dianna Young is a licensed massage therapist and instructor. She is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with her husband Curtis Young. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness. The pair also teach continuing education classes for massage therapists at Amarillo Community College.

A Coping Mechanism That Backfires

By Curtis Young, LMT, MTI

It’s the end of a long day of work and you probably find yourself looking for something to relieve stress – some turn to food, others turn to television or surfing the web but for many, alcohol is their coping mechanism of choice. And while having a drink here and there is fine for many people, for others it’s a stress reliever that backfires.

On top of causing an increased risk of injury, violence, drowning and liver disease, drinking too much alcohol killed 1,296 people in Texas in 2012 in drunk-driving crashes.

So how do you know if you or your loved ones are drinking too much? And if you are, what can you do about it? In honor of National Alcohol Awareness Month, here are some strategies to help people cut back or stop drinking:

  1. Keep track of how much you drink.
  2. Take the survey on this website - http://www.alcoholscreening.org/Home.aspx
  3. Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
  4. Don’t drink when you are upset.
  5. Avoid places where people drink a lot.
  6. Make a list of reasons not to drink.
  7. Join a support group for encouragement (al-anon)
  8. Replace the alcohol with other activities to relief stress (aerobic exercise, stretching, massage, charity work, church attendance, prayer)

If you know that you or a loved one struggle with alcohol and need additional information, visit the Al-Anon website at http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/.

In addition to being a corporate wellness specialist, Curtis Young is a certified massage therapist and instructor. He is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with his wife Dianna. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness.

 

7 Foods That Can Reduce Your Stress Level

By Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

Diannas ProfileGetting a massage every day would be ideal but since this isn’t possible for most people, we recommend taking a whole health approach to keeping stress at bay. While there are many techniques that can be used, eating certain foods has been scientifically proven to reduce stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline, which make you feel stressed out and damage your body over time. Here is a list of foods that have been shown to reduce your stress hormones.

Dark Chocolate

Yes, chocolate! A study revealed that people with high anxiety levels who ate dark chocolate daily reduced stress hormone levels. Just be sure to not eat too much which can lead to weight gain.

Warm Oatmeal

A bowl of warm oatmeal boosts levels of a calming brain chemical called serotonin. This is the same chemical that is helpful to induce sleep.

Milk

Calcium has been shown to ease the anxiety and mood swings linked to PMS. So if your stressed out, try drinking a warm glass of skim or low-fat milk.

Oranges/Vitamin C

In one study, people who took vitamin C before a stressful task had their blood pressure and cortisol levels return to normal more quickly. Studies have also show it can strengthen your immune system. So, eating oranges or other foods high in vitamin C could help.

Fatty Fish or Omega 3’s

If you want to prevent heart disease and mood disorders like depress and PMS, try eating more fish or taking omega-3 fatty acids supplements. They have been show to prevent surges in stress hormones.

Black Tea

It seems counter intuitive for a caffeinated beverage but in a study, those who drank four cups of black tea per day for six weeks reported feeling calmer and had lower levels of cortisol after stressful situations. On the other hand, coffee has been show to boost stress hormones and raise blood pressure.

Bottom line, if you are suffering from stress, eating certain foods can be one of the tricks in your tool box to deal with it along with exercise, prayer and massage.

Raw Carrots or Celery

If you find that eating crunchy foods like chips and crackers helps reduce stress, you are right on target. The crunching helps release a clenched jaw, which reduces tension. Unfortunately, these carbs can lead to weight gain so try munching on raw carrots or celery. While they don’t specifically fight stress hormones, they will also relax your jaw and lead to a more relaxed state.

Dianna Young is a licensed massage therapist and instructor. She is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with her husband Curtis Young. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness. The pair also teach continuing education classes for massage therapists at Amarillo Community College. 

7 Tips to Prevent Office Chair Muscle Strain

By Curtis Young, LMT, MTI

Curtis Young, LMT, MTIIf you’re like most people, sitting in an office chair all day takes a toll on your shoulders, lower back and legs. The reason for this is because holding the same position for more than 20 minutes slowly diminishes elasticity in the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons.)

The good news is there are several things you can do to prevent and reduce the pain that sitting still takes on your body. Here are seven tips that can help.

  1. Every 20 minutes or so, switch positions in your chair.
  2. Take a brief walk every hour.
  3. Do stretches at your desk.
  4. Stand up briefly or work standing up for a period of time.
  5. Maintain a healthy posture with shoulders upright and back straight.
  6. Make sure your chair is adjusted to the proper height to avoid slouching when using your keyboard.
  7. Keep your monitor at eye level or slightly below.

If all else fails, getting a weekly chair massage at work can help get the blood flowing to keep your muscles loose.

In addition to being a corporate wellness specialist, Curtis Young is a certified massage therapist and instructor. He is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with his wife Dianna. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness.

How to Avoid Sickness & Stress Over the Holidays

By Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

Diannas ProfileGetting a massage has traditionally been seen as a luxury service. However, with today’s growing body of research on the health benefits of massage, this thought process is quickly fading. Studies are showing that massage may enhance your ability to stay well, reduce stress and prevent weight gain.

In the 2010 study done by Cedars-Sinai, scientists found that patients who were given a massage had a heightened immune system response. In the study, one group was given a 45 minute Swedish Massage and another group was given 45 minutes of light-touch therapy. Following the massages, each subject was given a blood test. Compared to the test group that received light-touch therapy, the group that received the Swedish massage showed a significant increase in lymphocytes, which are cells that help the immune system defend the body from disease. Interestingly, those patients also had reduced levels of arginine vasopressin, a hormone that contributes to aggressive behavior, and the stress hormone Cortisol, which has been linked with weight gain.

While we can’t guarantee that you will stay healthier weight with regular massages, the evidence suggests that it’s a good idea. During this holiday season, we encourage you to give yourself the gift of massage to manage your stress and improve your immune system. It’s also a perfect gift for your loved ones.

Dianna Young is a licensed massage therapist and instructor. She is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with her husband Curtis Young. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness. The pair also teach continuing education classes for massage therapists at Amarillo Community College. 

 

How to Survive Breast Cancer

By Curtis Young, LMT, MTI

As many of you may already know, October is breast cancer awareness month. It’s become so commonplace to hear about it that it’s easy to brush it aside. But the fact is that 12.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Although many factors increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer, education and early detection can reduce the number of deaths resulting from the disease.

The factors that put a woman at a higher risk include: age, breast density, family history, physical activity and alcohol use. The use of certain drugs and an estrogen/progestin combination can also be linked to greater incidences of breast cancer.

While many of these factors can’t be avoided, breast cancer can still be non-life threatening if caught early. To do this, experts recommend that you schedule a yearly mammogram and be aware of what is normal for your breasts. Although self examinations are no longer recommended as a screening tool, watching for any changes in them is important. If you detect a change, contact your doctor immediately.

To help prevent cancer, experts recommend avoiding alcohol and processed foods, reducing stress and eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

As you go through the month of October and beyond, remember how important it is to take care of yourself and especially don’t forget to schedule your mammogram. Early detection is the best medicine.

 

In addition to being a corporate wellness specialist, Curtis Young is a certified massage therapist and instructor. He is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with his wife Dianna. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness.

7 Tips to Manage Time and Reduce Stress

By Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

We all have 24 hours a day but why do some people seem to get so much done, seem relaxed and still have time for what’s truly important in life. While there are many variations in human needs and abilities, there are strategies that the most successful people use to not only get more done, but to keep stress at bay. Here are a few of my favorite strategies.

Plan ahead - A great way to reduce stress is by taking some time upfront to plan a schedule with margin in it. That means being realistic about your schedule and allowing for a 15-minute cushion for “life” to happen. Also, set aside times or whole days to focus on important things such as planning, organizing, relationships, managing money or learning new information for success on the job.

Prioritize - Making a “to do” list with your most important items at the top will help you accomplish what truly needs to be done. Also, don’t try to do too much each day. Limit your list to 5 key items each day to avoid the stress of never feeling like you have accomplished anything.   

Limit distractions – In today’s day and age, limiting distractions is harder than ever. But, if you can set aside chunks of time where you avoid taking calls/texts, checking emails or meeting with people, you will be able to focus, get more done and feel more at peace.

Just say no - If you are trying to do too much, you won’t be able to be effective in each task. Learn to say “no” to good activities and only “yes” to the best for you and your family.

Let go of control and delegate - If you want to get more done and ease your stress, delegate as much as possible to others. While this comes naturally for some, others have to let go of perfection and controlling every detail.

Keep a time diary - Most of us don’t realize how much time we spend on certain activities. If you will write down what you are doing for three days, you should be able to identify a few  time robbers that are keeping you from achieving your goals or focusing on what’s really important in life. But, don’t get rid of everything enjoyable or it will backfire. Just set up some limits for yourself to keep those time thieves from taking control.

Take care of yourself – It may seem counterintuitive, but setting aside time to exercise, eat right, get enough sleep or get a massage will help you get more done over the long term. When people are relaxed and feel good, they tend to be more productive when they work.

Dianna Young is a licensed massage therapist and instructor. She is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with her husband Curtis Young. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness. The pair also teach continuing education classes for massage therapists at Amarillo Community College. 

 

Previous Articles

Could Getting More Sleep Land You a Raise?

8 Tips to Reduce Stress and Protect Your Heart

Keep Stress and Accidents from Spoiling Your Holidays

Five Stretches to Relieve Tension at Work

Should You Drink Water Before or After a Massage?

 

Could Getting More Sleep Land You a Raise?

By Curtis Young, LMT, MTI

If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may be hurting your productivity at work and potentially costing yourself and your company money.  Studies show that lack of sleep is associated with increased health-care costs and work absenteeism, as well as reduced productivity and the ability to learn and remember. It can also lead to a reduced immune system, several diseases and even premature death.

In a study by Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital published in the July 26, 2012 edition of The Journal of Vision, researchers confirmed that the longer someone is awake while they are sleep-deprived, the slower their work production becomes. The study tested sleep deprived people’s ability to quickly and accurately find information on computer monitors. The results - the longer the participants were awake, the longer it took for them to find information. This slower performance, along with a less positive attitude due to lack of sleep, could keep you from being promoted or getting a raise.

While some people insist they can run on low sleep with no impact and others recognize its impact on them, the truth is that most people want to get a good night’s sleep but struggle to do so. It’s just a product of the busy and stressful lives we lead. However, this doesn’t have to be your reality. There are simple steps you can take to increase the quality and quantity of your sleep.

  1. Avoid electronics before bed. While some people insist that watching television helps them fall asleep, studies show that using electronics too close to bedtime actually prolongs one’s ability to fall asleep.
  2. Keep a consistent bed time –When we consistently go to bed at the same time, our bodies are conditioned to fall asleep at that time. If you vary your bedtime every day, your body gets confused and doesn’t know when to shut down.
  3. Purchase a good mattress – If you are tossing and turning in bed due to discomfort or waking up in pain, it might be time to buy a new mattress. While a decent mattress can be pricey, it may be costing you even more money in lost productivity and promotion opportunities at work.
  4. Create a cozy, comfortable environment – Life is busy and expensive these days but taking the time and spending a little money to create a comfortable environment can make a huge difference. Try investing in room darkening shades, a white noise machine and a high fiber cotton sheets. Turning down the thermostat can also be helpful as most people sleep better in cooler conditions.
  5. Reduce snoring – If your partner snores, you may need to consider ear plugs or moving to a different room. If you snore or have sleep apnea, you may not be getting the great night of sleep you think you are getting. To tackle this problem, you may want to visit a doctor to see if you have sleep apnea, nasal or sinus problems. For many, simply losing weight, avoiding alcohol, dry air and bad sleeping postures can help. There are also dental appliances and nasal breathing strips that can help open the airways.
  6. Avoid Caffeine – For some, caffeine doesn’t seem to impact their ability to sleep. However, if you struggle to fall asleep, try gradually eliminating caffeine or stop drinking it before 2 p.m. to give the caffeine about 8 hours to wear off.

I hope you find these tips helpful. If you follow them, you should enjoy increased energy, work productivity and a better memory and attitude, as well as a greater chance for promotions and raises for a job well done.

In addition to being a corporate wellness specialist, Curtis Young is a certified massage therapist and instructor. He is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with his wife Dianna. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness.


8 Tips to Reduce Stress and Protect Your Heart

By Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

If your busy life style is causing your stress level to skyrocket, it’s time to take charge and implement some habits that will not only improve your mental state but also could protect your heart and body.

While stress is a God-given natural protection agent to help your body deal with change, over time it can begin to impact your health negatively. Symptoms include muscle tension, headaches, colitis, acid indigestion, body aches and depression. According to the National Heart Association, it can also lead to higher blood pressure. When you are under stress, your heart rate and blood pressure rise.

To solve these problems, many of us turn to habits such alcohol use, smoking and snacking. While these habits seem to help temporarily, over the long term, they just exacerbate the problems and create more health issues.

So what can you do to reduce your stress level without damaging your health?  Here are some tips to get started.

·         Positive Thinking – Be aware of thoughts that you are allowing in your mind each day. Are they self defeating? If so, come up with a new thought to replace the old one or quote a Bible verse instead.

·         Do Something You Enjoy - As adults, we have learned to put off our selfish desires, but over time, this approach can leave you exhausted and unproductive if you never take some time for yourself. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day, doing something you enjoy can rejuvenate you and improve your overall productivity.

·         Deep Breathing or Meditation – Even if you just have a few minutes a day, take some time to breathe deeply and think about a peaceful situation or place. Some people find that peaceful music aids in this process.

·          Exercise and Stretching – Making the time to get some aerobic exercise, even just a 15 minute walk, can help you get refocused and reduce tension. Stretching is also a great way to reduce the tightness built up from stress.

·         Get Organized – Like exercise, getting organized takes some time that we all feel we don’t have. But the result of disorganization can increase stress and zap your time. To tackle this problem, make a priority list, set aside time for the critical tasks and then allow a little time each day to get - and stay - organized.

·         Get Enough Sleep – Everyone is different but most people need from 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to be healthy.

·         Just Say No – Many people tend to say yes whenever an opportunity comes their way, but this can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. To avoid this, assess each opportunity according to your priorities and say no to those that don’t support your top priorities.

·         Get a Massage – More than a dozen studies have concluded that massage therapy helps relieve depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry. Researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol by up to 53 percent.

There are many ideas on this list, but don’t let that stress you out. I recommend picking two or three of these ideas to get started and then add others after you have successfully incorporated the first ones into your routine.

Dianna Young, LMT, MTI, is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage and a professor at Amarillo College. Amarillo On-Site Massage is Amarillo's premier on-site chair massage business specializing in corporate wellness and stress management in the work place. The company provides chair massages and stress management classes at places of business to help reduce stress and pain for employees and increase productivity, retention and morale for organizations. 

 

 

Holiday Health and Safety Tips

Keep Stress and Accidents from Spoiling Your Holidays

By Curtis Young, LMT, MTI

The holidays are suppose to be the most joyous time of the year but sometimes stress and tragedy can steal your joy. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe and happy this Christmas.

Reduce Stress During the Holidays
  • Plan each day with a realistic number of tasks
  • Refocus on the true meaning of the season.
  • Develop a plan to keep spending under control
  • If events in your life have made Christmas a hard time, volunteering to bless others can help you feel better.  
 Prevent Tragedy with Safety Tips 
  • If you buy a natural Christmas tree, place it in a sturdy wide-based stand away from heat sources.
  • Set candles on stable surfaces away from flammable materials.
  • Never drink and drive. If you plan to drink, designate someone else to drive you home.  

 

Five Stretches to Relieve Tension at Work

By Curtis Young, LMT, MTI

If you're like most people, sitting at a desk for hours can leave you stiff and tired. The good news is that by doing a few stretches at your desk can make all the difference. Here are a few stretches you can do without leaving your office chair.

Shoulder Rolls: When your shoulders begin to tighten up, take a moment to roll your shoulders backwards and then forwards for 10 seconds each. To engage the lower sides of your back, try alternating the shoulders in a dance-like movement.

Back & Shoulder Hug: To stretch your back and shoulders, scoot toward the edge of your chair (Make sure to put the chair up against a wall or desk if it has wheels so it will not roll.) Next, lean forward so that chest touches your legs and let your arms and neck hang loosely. To take the stretch further, put your arms behind your back and have one hand grab two fingers of the other hand. Then, gently raise your arms behind your back.

Wrists & Arm Stretches: To relieve tension in your forearms that builds up from typing at a computer or repetitive movements on a manufacturing line, bend your arms and put your elbows on your side. After making a fist, rotate your wrists clockwise and then counterclockwise for 5 to 10 seconds.

Leg lifts: While seated in your chair, lift each leg slowly until it's parallel to the ground. Hold that position for 10 seconds and then do the same for the other leg. This is great for stretching the back of your leg and strengthening your thigh muscle.

Neck Stretch: Sit up straight with both feet on the floor and hips even. Slowly tilt your head to the right and then left for 5 seconds on each side. Then lower your chin to your chest and gently stretch the back of your neck. From this position, begin to roll your head from side to side. This is a great stretch to relieve tension that builds up from staring a computer.

I recommend doing these stretches several times throughout the day during your breaks to keep the blood flowing and your muscles loose between massages. You can do as many repetitions as needed to feel better. If you have any medical issues or serious pain beyond typical tightness, please see a doctor before doing the stretches.

In addition to being a corporate wellness specialist, Curtis Young is a certified massage therapist and instructor. He is co- owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with his wife Dianna. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness.

 

 

Should You Drink Water Before or After a Massage?

By Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

You may have heard your massage therapist tell you to drink water after a massage but have you ever wondered why? On the other hand, you may not have heard that you should drink water before a massage.

Although there is some controversy over whether or not water helps flush out toxins after a massage, my experiences reveal that drinking water both before and after a massage is beneficial.  

Water makes up more than 60 percent of your total body weight and is important because it helps the cells and systems of your body work properly. It has the power to decrease problems such as headaches, heartburn, constipation, fatigue, kidney stones and even heart issues. According to a study by the University of Loma Linda, California, people who drank five or more glasses of water every day cut their risk of fatal heart attack in half.  Researchers concluded that water helps thin the blood and reduces the risk of clots, as well as moderating blood pressure because the blood is thinner and easier for the heart to pump. Other studies have shown water to reduce bladder, breast and colon cancer.

In relation to massage, it is helpful to drink water in advance to ensure that your muscles are hydrated so they are easier for your massage therapist to manipulate. Drinking water after a massage can also be beneficial because it can help wash away lactic acid that may be released from the muscles into the surrounding tissues. I recommend drinking 6 to 8 ounces of water after a massage and then emptying the bladder within 30 minutes to achieve maximum results. This can help reduce soreness after a deep tissue massage.

Bottom line – it’s important to make sure you are drinking enough water not just on massage day – but every day.

 

Dianna Young is a licensed massage therapist and instructor. She is co-owner of Amarillo On-Site Massage, along with her husband Curtis Young. Their company specializes in providing chair massage in the workplace to help employees relieve stress and pain and employers enhance morale and improve corporate wellness. The pair also teach continuing education classes for massage therapists at Amarillo College. 

 

 

 

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