LoDo Massage Studio Blog

Happy Thanksgiving!

Benefits of Feeling Gratitude

Hanna Kim - November 14, 2018

A Shoutout For Gratitude

A popular tradition on Thanksgiving is to go around the table and each name something that we are thankful for in our lives. What if we applied this to our everyday lives? Is there any reason to do that? Science says yes, there are a number of benefits to acknowledging the things we appreciate.

Research in positive psychology has seen an uptick in recent years, including a study that focuses on actions that increase individual happiness in American Psychology. Martin Seligman and his team found those who produced a one-time act of intentional gratitude produced a 10% increase in happiness and 35% decrease in depressive symptoms which lasted six and three months respectively.

In addition, participants who participated in daily journaling for a week reported small, incremental increases throughout time and were so happy with the exercise they continued to journal on their own. Regularly incorporating small mindful actions into our lives can lead to long lasting, positive change.

Celebrate The Good Things Each Day

In the study above, participants simply wrote about three things that well each day. Try taking just five minutes each night to jot down a few things you’re grateful for, and why they make you feel that way for bonus points.

If you’re feeling stuck, here are some more prompts to get you going:

  • I’m grateful for these three things that happened today:
  • I’m grateful for three things I sense (see/hear/feel/smell/taste):
  • I’m grateful for these three plants:
  • I’m grateful for these three animals:
  • I’m grateful for these three people:
  • I’m grateful for these three colors:
  • I’m grateful for these three things in my home:
  • I’m grateful for these three experiences in my life:
  • I’m grateful for these three places I’ve been:
  • Etc.

An alternative is keeping a gratitude jar or box. After you write down the three things you’re grateful for, place them in the jar and repeat. Over time, you’ll see the pile of things you’re grateful for grow, and it can serve as a visual reminder of all the things that bring you joy. Applying the theme of gratitude from Thanksgiving to our daily lives can make us feel happier and more fulfilled. Happy Thanksgiving - each and every day!

"I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual."
-Henry David Thoreau


Myths About Massage: Massage and Toxins

The truth about massage therapists' ability to help you detox

Hanna Kim - November 7, 2018

Can Massage Remove Toxins From Your Body?

The short answer is no, massage does not remove or release toxins from your body. Something you might have heard about massage therapy is that it helps release toxins in your muscles or even detoxify the pollutants that might have accumulated in your body from the food you eat or air you breathe. Despite constant action from massage educators like Sandy Fritz, a founding member of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education who has also written a number of evidence-based texts for massage therapists, massage myths about toxins still persist.

Lactic Acid Is Not A Toxin

A common pseudoscientific version of the claim that massage therapy can help you detoxify lactic acid produced when you exercise is untrue as well. In reality, lactic acid is a metabolic by-product of energy production when the glucose (sugar) you’ve eaten is converted to a form of energy that is usable for your cells in a process called glycolysis.

The “burn” you feel while exercising is not from toxic lactic acid accumulating in your muscles, but much more obvious: you’re sore because your muscles undergo strain during a good workout. Same with muscle soreness a day or two after a workout: the sensation is simply fatigue.

Lactic acid disappears from your muscles and bloodstream about an hour after exercise, shown in a study dating back to the 1930’s in the Harvard Fatigue Lab (2). Furthermore, a 2004 study on the “Biochemistry of exercise-induced metabolic acidosis” found actually is aimed to diminish the burn.

Self-care like massage will help reduce tension and soreness by helping relax overworked, contracted muscles and fascia, but there is no research to show lactic acid is a harmful, pain-inducing toxin. It can be tempting to simplify what’s going on in our bodies, but sometimes words are used in the wrong context or misconstrued so far out of the realm of truth, which leads to confusion and misinformation.

Massage Has Many Other Benefits

Despite the disproven claim about the power of massage therapy to detoxify your body, there are still many other proven reasons to get a massage. Take a look at our massage therapist staff page to get an idea of the benefits of different modalities practiced at our massage studios. Both LoDo Massage Studio locations in RiNo and the Highlands are open from 9AM to 9PM mountain time each day.


Myths About Massage: Pregnancy Women Should Not Receive Massages

Misconceptions about massage therapy during pregnancy

Hanna Kim - 11/1/2018

Is Massage Therapy Bad for My Pregnancy?

It’s still not an uncommon belief that massage should be avoided during a pregnancy. Some people still have the impression that getting a massage while pregnant may trigger an early delivery or even a miscarriage, but that is simply untrue. Some other variations on this myth are:

⊘ The baby will kick if it doesn’t like the massage: Women who have experienced pregnancy before know how much their babies move around especially as they grow bigger in the later weeks of pregnancy.
⊘ Touching the ankles or feet will induce pregnancy or miscarriage: There is no research to support the belief that pressing on certain reflex points in the ankles or feet is harmful to a pregnancy.
⊘ Massage is contraindicated during ___ trimester: In reality, miscarriage is common - it occurs in 10% of all pregnancies, and 80% of miscarriages occur in the first trimester (1) The first trimester is often the one that is avoided, perhaps because of this correlation. Massage is helpful for women at all stages of pregnancy.

Old wives’ tales against pregnancy massage date back to the early 1900’s when pregnancy was considered a “dangerous and fragile condition” for women and a time when many different activities should be avoided because of the potential risks (2). It took nearly another hundred years around the 1990’s when research on pregnancy health and the benefits of massage on pregnant moms-to-be increased.

Many women now know it’s perfectly fine to get regular exercise, continue working, and go about their daily lives during their pregnancies. Massage doesn’t require any high levels of exertion on the part of the client and isn’t any more dangerous than any other normal day-to-day activity. Women with a high-risk pregnancy or conditions like pre-eclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension, extreme swelling, or hypertension should speak with their health-care providers before seeking massage therapy. It doesn’t hurt for healthy pregnant women to check with their doctors first, but it is not a requirement, as pregnancy is a normal part of life.

Massage actually offers many health benefits and can relieve the many discomforts that come with the changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy.

Benefits of pregnancy massage include:

✓ Regulate hormones - massage helps decrease stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine and increase dopamine and serotonin
✓ Reduce joint swelling and pain
✓ Reduce nerve pain (most commonly, sciatic nerve inflammation from the pressure of a growing womb)
✓ Reduce back pain
✓ Improve sleep

Many LoDo Massage Studio practitioners have additional training specifically for pregnancy massage. Call us today at (720) 999-3336 to book at our Highlands studio or (720) 360-0035 for our RiNo location.


4 Unexpected Ways Stress Shows Up In Your Body

What are some physical ways stress manifests in your body?

Hanna Kim - 10/26/2018

Life Is Stressful for Many Americans

Americans are stressed about many things and rightfully so, with the current political climate bringing about uncertainty and exacerbating day-to-day stressors. According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2018 Stress in America report, the most common stressors today are the future of our nation (63%), money (62%), and work (61%). Moreover, the APA found more respondents reporting feeling stress in 2017, marking the first statistically significant increase in ten years of annual surveys.

Reducing stress starts with awareness. Our bodies know when we’re stressed, even if our minds may not always be entirely attuned to it. Stress can come up in our bodies in many ways, differing from person to person. Often, stress can increase pre-existing health conditions. Some common signs and symptoms of stress to look out for include:

  1. Chronic Pain
If you’ve been feeling pain and discomfort in your body with no direct cause like strain from exercise, consider that you may be feeling stressed. Stress can also increase pain for people with conditions like sickle cell disease (1). Common areas of the body we feel pain when we’re stressed include the neck and shoulders, which tense up. Others may feel stress in the form of tension headaches.
  1. Decreased Energy and Fatigue
Sometimes you may feel despite going to bed at a reasonable time every day and having several cups of coffee, you can’t shake off a feeling of tiredness. Stress may prevent you from getting a good night’s rest by creating sleep fragmentation or higher levels of insomnia (2).
  1. Depression and Anxiety
There are a number of contributing factors to mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety, not limited to family history, past trauma, brain chemistry, hormone imbalance, and current medications. New stressors can make it harder to manage already existing depression and/or anxiety. One study found acute or chronic stress is significantly associated with major depression (3), highlighting the importance of managing stress for better mental health.
  1. Changes in Appetite

Have you found yourself feeling not hungry at all, despite missing multiple meals? Or perhaps you feel yourself craving more food, especially those that are high in salt, fat, or sugar? One study of college women found that in times of stress, 81% of these women experienced a change in appetite, with 62% experiencing an increase, and 38% a decrease (3).

Look out for the different ways stress may manifest in your body. Treating stress, which may be the heart of the issue, instead of only the surface symptoms may help you more significantly improve your health. A daily mindfulness ritual can help you learn to recognize and let go of stress.

We want to help you have a stress-free holiday! Follow the LoDo Massage Studio Facebook page for Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts on massage services.


Massage Modalities at LoDo Massage Studio - Part 4

Introduction to neuromuscular massage therapy, aromatherapy, and intra-oral massage

Hanna Kim - 10/18/2018

In this final chapter of our Massage Modalities series, I will be going over three more types of massage offered at LoDo Massage Studio: neuromuscular, aromatherapy, and intra-oral. To read about the many other types of massage we offer, you can refer to part 1, part 2, or part 3.

Neuromuscular Massage Therapy
Neuromuscular massage therapy sometimes referred to as trigger point therapy, is deep tissue work that is often highly effective for soft tissue injuries like muscle strains. The massage therapist will pinpoint pressure on an area of your body with muscle spasms for ten to thirty seconds at a time to try and relax the muscle.
The tightened muscle should relax from the added pressure, but may not be able to if the muscle is inflamed. Massage is not the best option for already inflamed tissues, as massage’s intended effect is to create therapeutic inflammation to help increase blood flow to dry, overused tissues. 
It is essential for clients to communicate with their massage therapists in deep tissue modalities like neuromuscular therapy. Clients often describe experiencing “good pain” with neuromuscular work as their muscles are coaxed into relaxation. If this doesn’t ring true while you’re receiving your massage, let your therapist know so she or he can try something else.
You should feel the benefits of neuromuscular massage within the next day or two, and muscles tightened by strenuous exercise or repetitive motions at work should feel more relaxed for up to two weeks.

Aromatherapy is offered as an upgrade to any massage service you book with us. Massage therapists use a blend of different oils to help alleviate symptoms including:
  • Stress, anxiety, depression
  • Muscle soreness or inflammation
  • Pain from conditions like kidney stones or osteoarthritis
  •   Side effects of cancer treatments like nausea and pain
It is believed aromatherapy works by activating smell receptors in your nose and sending messages to your nervous system. Different aromas may activate areas of your brain; for example, it may activate your limbic system, which is linked to emotions, or your hypothalamus, which can by releasing serotonin, a pain-relieving chemical.
Aromatherapy is safe for most clients to try, but be sure to mention any allergies or sensitivities to your massage therapist. We recommend aromatherapy be used as a complementary therapy and not a replacement to any regular medical treatments you are receiving.

Intra-oral Massage
If you are experiencing temporomandibular joint disorder (often shortened to TMJ), intra-oral massage can provide much-needed relief from symptoms such as:
  • TMJ noise (clicking, popping, or grinding)
  • Clenching or bruxism (grinding)
  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Muscle spasms in the head, jaw, neck, and shoulder
  • Mandible deviations with movement
  • Limited opening and movement of the jaw
  • Earaches (pain and congestion)
  • Swelling and pain on the side of the face
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Nausea
  • Fatigued facial muscles
  • Sensitive teeth and difficulty chewing
  • Cervical (neck) pain
TMJ associated symptoms can be a result of past traumas, emotional trauma, whiplash, stress, anxiety, postural dysfunction, and trigger points in the muscles of your face and neck. It is important to note that emotional or physical trauma release is common with this type of work.
Intra-oral massage is performed by massage therapists with additional training - the therapist will wear gloves to work muscles and fascia in the mouth, and may also release tension in surrounding muscles of the neck, scalp, and shoulders.
You can call either our RiNo or Highlands studio or check our staff page to see what each of our massage therapists' specializations are.