🙍🏻Stress, Anxiety, and Massage 💆🏻

Stress, Anxiety, and Massage
Why get a massage? According to a survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association, 28% of Americans who get a massage do so for relaxation and stress reduction. That’s a lot of people in the US who feel strongly enough about their own experiences with massage for stress reduction to put their money on it. But aside from individual feelings, what exactly do we know about massage and how it relates to stress and anxiety? And what does the research have to say about that?
What is stress? What is anxiety?
Stress is your body’s response to demanding circumstances. Working late hours? You’ll experience stress. Prepping for a big competition? Definitely stressful. Toddler throwing a tantrum? That’s no doubt stressful for both of you. When you’re stressed, your blood pressure goes up, your breathing and heart rate quicken, and you feel jittery and distracted. All this is useful if your stress is a result the big race you’re running, when you can put that energy to good use. It’s less helpful if your stressor is a friend in need of patience and comfort.
People who regularly put themselves into stressful circumstances on purpose (public speakers, for example) often learn how to channel that stress response for their own benefit, but it takes practice over time. When stress goes from being an occasional experience to a chronic condition, health problems result.
Anxiety, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily a reaction to circumstances. Most often, it’s related to anticipated future or potential stress. As with stress, anxiety isn’t necessarily an immediate health problem, although it’s unpleasant. Feeling a bit anxious about an upcoming exam, the imminent birth of a baby, or the quality of a presentation can give you a push to prepare as best you can. But anxiety becomes unhelpful when it is overwhelming, requiring you to focus all your energy on surviving your immediate feelings rather than addressing their roots. Pacing, nail biting, trembling, and vomiting are signs that anxiety is veering into unhelpful territory. Test anxiety, social anxiety, and decision anxiety are all common forms of anxiety.
Anxiety disorder is the general name given to chronic, excessive anxiety in response to everyday situations. Anxiety disorders include
  • Generalized anxiety disorder: excessive anxiety in general.
  • Social anxiety disorder: anxiety disorder related to interacting with others.
  • Separation anxiety disorder: anxiety disorder related to separation from specific people, often parents or caregivers.
  • Phobias: subset of anxiety disorders characterized by persistent fear of a specific thing.
  • Panic disorder: anxiety disorder characterized by reoccurring panic attacks.
Many people discover that they have more than one type of anxiety disorder, or deal with anxiety combined with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, alcoholism, or substance abuse. While stress and anxiety are more general terms that you can probably identify in yourself, anxiety disorders can only be diagnosed by a physician.
What kinds of studies have been done on massage for anxiety and stress?
Stress: 
While stress levels are largely subjective, studies focused on pain, sleep, and other outcomes often find that patients report decreased stress levels as one of the major benefits they receive from massage therapy treatments. In one study on pain in acute care settings, more than half of the patients mentioned relaxation in their survey responses. One described the experience of receiving massage as “very helpful, soothing, comforting, and relaxing,” which is notable considering how stressful being hospitalized is. Improved emotional well-being and sleep were also mentioned by many patients and nurses, both of which are good indicators of stress reduction.
Anxiety:
Most studies done on massage and anxiety have focused on specific populations. One study found significant improvement in both state (long term) and trait (immediate) anxiety in children with cancer and blood diseases who received Swedish massage. Another measured the physiological responses to stress (blood pressure and pulse) in hospitalized children and found similar results. Cardiac care patients were the focus of another study. Again, massage was shown to be helpful at reducing anxiety. Still, larger and broader studies on the matter still need to be done.
Anxiety disorders:
There have been relatively few studies on massage therapy for anxiety disorders specifically, and those that have been done have been small and generally lacking good control groups. One randomized controlled trial found that massage therapy was significantly helpful for people with generalized anxiety disorder, but no more so than thermotherapy (relaxing with hot towels placed in different locations on the body) or being in a special relaxation room with no additional treatment. This study only measured improvement over multiple weeks, and not feelings of anxiety in the short term, before and after treatments. Because this study didn’t have a no-treatment control group, they weren’t able to state whether all three were equally effective or equally ineffective.
What does all this mean?
People regularly feel that massage helps reduce their stress and anxiety. There are also other techniques that seem to be helpful to varying degrees, depending on the situation and the person. This is helpful to know, because not everyone enjoys massage. For some, touch itself can be a source of stress and anxiety, so it’s helpful to know that there are other complementary therapies available that also create positive results.
Stress and anxiety are closely tied to pain, sleep, and other factors. Reducing pain reduces stress levels. Reducing stress levels can also reduce pain. Improving sleep can impact both pain and stress, and vice versa. Does massage therapy work primarily through either pain or stress reduction, or does it impact both equally? This is an area for further study.
Massage therapy is a fairly safe way to manage stress and anxiety. With relatively few drug interactions and a very low chance for injury, massage therapy can be helpful to a wide variety of people dealing with stress and anxiety in different situations. From the smallest infants to athletes to people in hospice, there are few who could not benefit from massage therapy.
There is a lot more to learn. While there is a lot of research on massage for pain, massage for anxiety (and especially massage for anxiety disorders) has less research to back it up. It will take time and money before a large body of knowledge has been built up.
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, massage therapy is worth trying. The evidence is still rolling in, but what we have is promising. Are you ready to give it a try? Book your next massage today.

☀️ SunBurns ☀️

Caring for the skin you are in.

Caring for the skin you’re in: staying sun safe 
I see a lot of skin. All colors, all textures. Freckles, scars, stretch marks, moles. Skin with lots of hair and skin with none. Skin doesn’t surprise me.
Except when it does. That brown spot on your shoulder blade? It wasn’t quite that big when you came in a month ago. And it looks less like an oval and a little more like a blob. Maybe you should have that checked out?
Healthy skin we love. Skin cancer? Not so much. Which is why you’re here my blog for ZenGate Healing Arts, reading about sun exposure. Because even though I’m not a dermatologist and you’re not going to burn while getting a massage, your skin is a friend I see regularly. And I want to be able to keep working with it for many healthy years to come.
What happens when you get a sunburn?
You’re exposed to the sun and then your skin turns red and itchy, right? Well, yes. But there’s more to it as well.
When you step out into the sunlight, you’re immediately bombarded by UV radiation. This radiation causes mismatches in the curlicue of your DNA in the nucleus of your skin cells, which is dangerous and can lead to cancer. As soon as this starts to occur, your skin jumps into protective action redistributing melanin, the pigment that causes suntans, and which helps to protect your DNA from further damage.
But if you’re still outside and the damage doesn’t stop (especially if you’re fair skinned and don’t have much melanin to go around), you start to see an inflammatory response. This is the same kind of inflammation that you see when you sprain your ankle, only spread out across your damaged skin. Your blood vessels dilate to get more nutrients and infection-fighting cells to your skin, making the it red and warm to the touch. Itching and pain result, a warning signal from your body that something is wrong. You may feel thirsty and tired as your body works to repair itself.
If the burn is bad enough, you’ll start to see blisters as the plasma leaks from inside cells into the space between the dermis (the bottom layer of skin) and the epidermis (the top layer). These blisters form a cushion of fluid over your damaged tissue. (At this point, your body has already written that top layer of skin off.)
Eventually, even if you didn’t have any blisters, you will get flaking and peeling of the top layer of your skin. Interestingly enough, these skin cells weren’t killed by UV radiation. When skin cells recognize that their DNA has been severely damaged, they deliberately die off rather than risk becoming cancerous. This planned cell death is called apoptosis, and it’s the reason you see massive numbers of skin cells coming loose at once.
So to be clear: all sunburns, no matter how mild, contain the beginning stages of skin cancer. It’s only because our skin kills itself off before these cells go haywire that we see as little skin cancer as we do. Even so, more than 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the US each year, and 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70. UV radiation will play a role in many of these cases.
How can you protect your skin?
The short answer: Stay away from UV radiation. This means tanning beds as well as sunlight.
The longer answer: Unless you plan to become a vampire, you will probably be exposed to sunlight at least some of the time. The trick is to reduce that exposure to a safe level by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using sunscreen.
How much sun is safe?
This depends on two main variables: the UV Index and your skin type.
UV Index
The UV Index is a measure of the level of UV radiation in your location at any given point in time. It’s something you can easily look up on your computer or phone before heading out the door. In general, global UV Index recommendations look something like this:
  • 1-2: Low. Enjoy being outside!
  • 3-7: Medium. Seek shade at midday, put on a shirt and hat, wear sunscreen.
  • 8+: High. Stay indoors at midday, seek shade as much as possible, sunscreen is an absolute must.
Skin type
With the exception of people with albinism, everyone has some melanin in their skin. Those with more of the protective pigmentation are less susceptible to DNA damage in their skin cells from UV radiation than those with less.
  • Type I: Very pale, burns quickly, never tans.
  • Type II: Pale, burns easily, rarely tans
  • Type III: Burns moderately, tans over time to light brown
  • Type IV: Burns minimally, tans to medium brown
  • Type V: Rarely burns, tans to dark brown.
  • Type VI: Never burns, rarely tans, deeply pigmented skin.
People with Type I skin can burn after as little as five or ten minutes, while those with Type VI skin can sometimes be outside for an hour without damage.
Note: You might have seen a skin type scale that goes from I-IV, especially if you are looking in an older medical textbook. That’s because the original Fitzpatrick scale was made in the 1970s for white people. This is the same scale, but expanded to include everybody.
Is sunscreen safe?
A 2001 study raised concerns that oxybenzone (the chemical that makes most sunscreens so effective) might impact hormones. In this study, rats fed large doses of oxybenzone developed enlarged uteruses. Studies in humans haven’t been conclusive. What we know for sure is that, if you’re a rat, you shouldn’t drink sunscreen.
Some pediatricians recommend sticking to mineral-based sunscreens for infants and very young children just in case, until long-term studies are concluded over the next twenty or so years. But these are thick and need to be reapplied regularly. If your children are experiencing sunburns with mineral-based sunscreens, they are being put in significantly more danger than any potential hazard from oxybenzone.
What about vitamin D?
Yup, you need vitamin D in your body to stay health. And yes, your skin manufactures vitamin D in response to UV radiation. (People with lighter skin types make more vitamin D with less sun exposure than people with darker skin types.) So shouldn’t you go without sun protection sometimes for the nutritional benefits?
Luckily, there are a number of sources of vitamin D that don’t also cause skin cancer. Fish, mushrooms, eggs, and fortified dairy products are all excellent sources. And if you’re a tremendously picky eater, there are also vitamin D supplements you can take. For the severely deficient (diagnosed with a simple blood test), there are high-dose supplements or injections your physician can prescribe.
Caring about your skin isn’t about vanity.
It’s a critical organ, like any other. If you exercise for your heart and quit smoking for your lungs, then preventing sunburns is just another healthy habit.
While in session I love supporting your skin with organic, vegan, and without parabens, dyes or synthetic fragrances. Using only high quality lubricants with my Nature’s Root’s Sore Muscle Body Oils and lotions containing the proprietary blends of exquisite oils and herbs, fortified with non-GMO hemp oil (natural SPF, everyone!) & jojoba as natural emollients.
I love skin. I work with it on a daily basis and appreciate all the skin to keep your insides in and your outsides out. It keeps you cool, it tells you what’s around you, it prevents infections and repairs itself at a remarkable rate. So take care of it!
And maybe bring it in for a massage.

Spend some time on my massage table, taking care of you. You can request an appointment right here,  or call me at 630-935-171 to make your appointment.

Annie Van Zeyl, LMT

Annie Van Zeyl is a Licensed Massage Therapist of ZenGate Healing Arts, who loves working with the most stressed out career professionals, moms with kids of all ages and individuals with medical conditions.  Annie uses an integrated approach of massage therapy, guided meditation, chakra balancing and energy work to help reduce stress, anxiety & muscle tension in her sessions for improving the overall well-being.

 

🍀 Feelin’ Lucky? 🍀

Feel like the luckiest person alive!

🍀May Lucky Synergy brighten your day, and its magical aroma show you the way. May good fortune await around every bend, and may your lucky streak never end.🍀
Plant Therapy’s Lucky Synergy will make you feel like the luckiest person alive! This bright, clean, citrusy blend has a hint of mint that will put a spring in your step and brighten your day.
Diffuse Lucky Synergy and the magical aroma will freshen a room, enlighten your spirit, and give you a feeling of confidence and motivation.

Get Lucky with Plant Therapy! Order our Lucky Blend Essential Oil in an ever so lucky green bottle. And with every purchase, receive a Lucky Scratcher and win every time! Click here to purchase! 

🍀 This bright, clean, citrusy blend has a hint of mint that will put a spring in your step and brighten your day.🍀

 

✨ZennaBliss Massage ✨

✨It is official! ✨our newest massage, #ZennaBliss, A cannabis infused #massage is now at ZenGate Healing Arts!

✨It is official! ✨ ZenGate Healing Arts in Elmhurst Illinois newest massage is… #ZennaBliss! A cannabis infused massage with a high amounts of CBD oil at 100mg per ounce. Four lovely aromas to choose from energizing, relieving, relaxing and stimulating. Developed with chronic pain in mind, penetrates deeply into the muscle while providing an extended relief time.
ZennaBliss is a cannabis infused massage with Nature’s Root Sore Muscle Body Oil CBD 100 is all natural and all organic with 100mg of CBD per one ounce bottles. Created with chronic pain and therapeutic work in mind. It has a tremendous glide to it and quickly absorbs into the skin.

ZennaBliss has four aromatherapy  blends to choose from:
Relieving camphor 
Relaxing chamomile & lavender
Stimulating  basil & eucalyptus
Energizing citrus

Our ZennaBliss Massage with Nature Root’s Sore Muscle Body Oil CBD 100 provides the necessary properties to relieve pain &  reduce inflammation. 
CBD is a non-psychoactive, inherent property of the hemp plant, recognized for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Used in our ZennaBliss Massage  for a deeper sense of relaxation, extended relief time and deeper muscle penetration. It works especially well for those individuals battling chronic pain, arthritis, nerve damage, and the sort.
Upon arrival, you will receive your own bottle of Nature’s Root Sore Muscle Body Oil (choice of 4 aromas) to take to your treatment room. What is not used during your session, will be our gift to you to take home.
Reserve your ZennaBliss Massage Now!

Show Your Love 💝

Be My Valentine

For Only $16.95 You Can Show Your Love with the Be My Valentines Gift Box (Over 20% Off)! Shop Now at Plant Therapy While Supplies

This Valentine’s gift idea for 2018 is both “Sensual” and “Marvelous.” Show your partner how much you truly care with Plant Therapy’s Be My Valentine Set.
Perfect for creating a special, intimate atmosphere for you and your sweetheart, this set includes Plant Therapy’s Sensual Synergy Oil and a 4 oz. bottle of Marvelous Massage Carrier Oil.
The romantic qualities of Sensual Synergy will awaken passions with its exotic blend of floral overtones of Ylang Ylang and Jasmine give way to the more subtle, woody notes of Sandalwood and Patchouli. Orange Sweet and Lavender round out the blend for an overall balance.

Diffuse a drop or two in the bedroom to set a romantic mood. Add to the luxurious Marvelous Massage Carrier Oil Blend to ignite intimacy, promote closeness and rev up the romance.  USE WITH CAUTION: This set will leave you feeling flirtatious.  AND of course, if all fails, a massage therapy gift certificate to ZenGate Healing Arts will surely make any loved one feel more special then ever. 💆💝✨

12 Days of Zen Day 11

12 Days of Zen Day 11

Glow for the Holidays!
nV Skin & Brow Bar at Judith B is offering a ‘Vitamin C Facial Treatment & Red Light Therapy’ Gift Certificate for only $30! (regularly $50)

Purchase at Judith B Salon or call (630) 359-3680 for more info!
#12daysofzen #judithB #zengatehealingarts
http://www.judithb.net/artists/nia/

12 Days of Zen Day 9

12 Days of Zen Day 9

On the 9th day of ‘zenmas’ my Massage Therapist gave to me… 20 % OFF all in-stock Auriculotherapy Earseed Kits! Now until Christmas EVE purchase any in-stock earseed kit and receive 20% OFF! Mention 12 days of Zen for discount!

12 Days of Zen Day 8

12 Days of Zen Day 8

On the 8th day of Zen my Massage Therapist gave to me! BOGO!

Buy one 12″ x 12″ print, get a second one free at the curious art & design by Megan Down The Rabbit Hole Etsy Shop! Use Code: 12DOC

Megan’s is a featured artist at Judith B Salon and if you want to see some of the prints live visit us at 263 N York St. Elmhurst IL! 

12 Days of Zen Day 7

ZenBaby Infant Massage one-on-one class!

On the 7th day of Zen my massage therapist gave to me… An infant massage class for my baby & me!

Now until December 15th 2017 purchase a ZenBaby Infant Massage Class Gift Certificate for only $35! Click here to PURCHASE Use CODE: zenbaby

Infant Massage is a one-on-one (or two if both parents would like to attend) class for expecting, new, and experienced parents and caregivers to learn how to effectively massage your infant. These techniques are gentle, effective and appropriate for all ages of babies, children, and even adults if the desired outcome is deeper sleep, healing, and better digestion and elimination. Babies who receive massage can experience:

  • Better performance on neurological assessment scales
  • Better sleep/wake behaviors
  • Greater soothability
  • Improved growth and development
  • Improved body awareness
  • Improved relaxation and release of accumulated stress
  • Strengthened digestive, circulatory, and gastrointestinal systems, which can lead to weight gain
  • Reduced discomfort from teething, congestion, gas, colic, and emotional stress
  • Improved muscle tone coordination
  • Increased elimination, circulation, and respiration
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Improved overall health

12 Days of Zen Day 6

CBD Clinic Creams 20% OFF now until 12/15/17

The 6th Day of Zen receive 20% Off All CBD CLINIC creams Now until December 15th 2017!

CBD CLINIC Professional Series topical medications are the first and only non-prescription ointments and creams that combine FDA-approved active ingredients and hemp extract. This Revolutionary Pain Relief products are formulated with natural emollients to help active analgesic compounds penetrate deep to quickly increase blood flow to joints and muscles and interrupt pain signaling.