Migraine solutions: can massage ease migraine pain?
Many migraine sufferers are finding relief and prevention in different massage therapy techniques.
If you suffer from migraines, you know all too well the time lost to pain, nausea, photosensitivity, and a general unwell feeling. Prescription medicines can halt a migraine in its path, particularly when taken at the first hit of onset; avoiding triggers, which can include anything from caffeine to chocolate to alcohol to wheat or dairy, also helps those afflicted by migraines to avoid illness as often as possible. However, many people today choose to pursue alternative medicine to help ameliorate and prevent migraines. Massage has proven itself a powerful alternative to traditional medications in the field of migraine prevention.
There are several different techniques of massage that have been shown to help migraine sufferers combat their illness. Different styles work - or don't work -- for different people, and most sufferers combine massage therapy with traditional therapies to reap the best results. Depending on the type and frequency of your migraines, one or more of the following massage techniques could prove helpful to you.
Deep-tissue massage, perhaps the most well-known technique, relaxes the muscles in the body through pressure and stretching. A massage therapist focuses on areas of the body that carry tension and feel tight or uncomfortable, and uses deepening pressure to release the tension and give an overall feeling of relaxation and loosening of stiff muscles. If your migraines result from tension carried in a certain part of the body (usually the neck and shoulders), deep-tissue massage that relaxes those areas can provide a palliative measure.
Neuromuscular massage is a close cousin of deep-tissue massage. In this technique, the therapist applies moderate to deep pressure to the body's "trigger points" - specific areas within a muscle that often feel painful to the touch when pressed. The idea behind trigger-point therapy is that it will release nerve compression (compressed nerves being the reason that the trigger points ache when touched), and that the relaxed nerves in turn will help the body to release tension.
The next technique to consider is craniosacral therapy, wherein the pressure applied by the therapist is focused on the skull and scalp. By soothing the nerve endings through massage, the therapist encourages them to relax and to stop sending such powerful waves of pain.
If craniosacral massage does not help your migraines, you might try moving downwards to the feet for reflexology. Reflexology concentrates on pressure points on the soles of the foot. According to the practice, the foot is divided into that relate to different areas of the body; by stimulating those points on the feet, the therapist aims to relax muscles that carry a lot of stress or tension. Because it involves applying pressure to the feet, several people have found that they can learn and practice a version of the therapy on themselves, thus making it more affordable and more available as a prevention tool at the onset of migraine pain.
Lastly, you might choose to consider acupressure and its close relation, acupuncture. Acupressure, like reflexology can be learned and practiced by the migraine sufferer. The technique involves applying pressure with the fingertips to specific points on the head and neck or the hands; the idea is that applying pressure, then releasing it, in a certain rhythm will relax the specific nerves responsible for transmitting migraine pain. If you find relief from acupressure, you may choose to seek out a licensed acupuncture practitioner. Acupuncture therapists attempt to release the body's tension by painlessly inserting fine needles into the pressure points all over the body. While acupressure and acupuncture are not to be confused, they have both arisen from the Eastern concept of qi, or energy, that courses through the body and can become blocked at those nerve endings, or pressure points. Releasing the qi to flow freely again relieves the pressure and pain of many ailments, including, for some, migraine.
If you do choose to pursue a form of massage to seek relief from migraines, you should check with your doctor to ensure the safety of your choice. Always find a licensed practitioner. While acupressure and reflexology can be learned from the numerous books on the subject, you should always find certified therapists for any technique that allows someone else to manipulate your body in any way. Some massage therapists even accept insurance, so check with your insurance carrier to see if massage can be covered under an alternative medicine policy. Most of all, keep your mind open; if one technique does not work for you, another might. Do your research, take care, and be well!
A Guide to Making Shoes Last Longer Are you tired of buying new shoes frequently because your old shoes keep falling apart? With a little effort and some proper care you can extend the life of your shoes and save yourself money. Dress shoes can be expensive and without proper care they may not look good for very long. It is possible to keep your shoes looking good for a long time if you just follow some simple steps.
1. Buy a good pair of cedar shoe trees. Shoe trees are form fitting inserts that go inside your shoes when you are not wearing them. They maintain the shape of the shoe which will eliminate creases from forming in the leather. Preventing creases will keep the leather looking good and keep it from cracking or developing a hole. Shoe trees will also help keep the soles flat so the sole will wear more evenly. Shoe trees are made in both plastic and cedar. The cedar shoe trees are better because the wood absorbs moisture and perspiration from the inside of your shoe. After a long day of wearing your shoes, the inside of your shoes can become damp. This moisture, if left inside the shoe, will eventually eat away at the lining of your shoes and cause them to smell. Cedar shoe trees will absorb this moisture, keeping the lining dry and your shoes smelling fresh. It is important to insert shoe trees into your shoes anytime you are not wearing them, but especially after you have just worn them.
2. Buy a good horsehair shoe brush. A shoe brush will help to brush off dust, dirt, and debris that has found its way onto your shoes. Horsehair is the best material to get because it is durable yet gentle, so it will effectively brush your shoes without scratching the leather. If you buy a lesser quality shoe brush, the bristles may be too coarse and it could scratch your shoes and ruin the leather. Lightly brushing your shoes with a side to side motion will help keep your shoes dirt free.
3. Buy good shoe polish and shine your shoes regularly. It is important to buy a good shoe polish that is right for your pair of shoes. Since all shoes are different and there are different forms of leather, it is a good idea to ask the salesperson what shoe polish is best at the time you purchase your shoes. You may not think there is a big difference between shoe polishes, but some shoe polishes can actually harm your shoes. A leather creme polish that matches your shoe color will generally help keep the leather properly conditioned so it does not dry out. Some less expensive products that advertise a "quick shine" actually do more harm than good. They may give your shoes a quick shine, but the alcohol and other chemicals will eventually dry out the leather prematurely. Again, it is important to check with your salesperson to see which product is right for your particular pair of shoes. A good process is to wipe your shoes with a clean cotton cloth, apply and rub in some polish, and then shine with the horsehair shoe brush.
4. Treat suede and nubuck differently than regular leather shoes. You do not want to use polish or leather creme on suede shoes. Using these products will ruin the material by matting it down. Generally, simply brushing these shoes gently should keep them dirt free. It is important to get a special suede brush and to be very gentle because the material is more delicate than leather. You can also spray them with a water proofing spray to keep them from getting ruined in the rain. Suede shoes are more difficult to care for than regular leather shoes, so check with your shoe salesman to make sure you get the right products for it.
5. Keep leather and suede shoes dry. Wearing your shoes in the rain or in the snow will ruin the material. If you live in a city or a climate where it frequently rains or snows, it may be a good idea to purchase a pair of rubber galoshes to slip over your shoes. They are easy to put on, by simply stretching them over your shoes, and will help make your shoes last longer. If your shoes do get wet, it is a good idea to dry them as soon as possible by wiping the surface with a soft, dry, cotton cloth.
6. If you take proper care of your shoes, the soles should wear out before the leather uppers do. If this happens, you may not need to replace the shoes. If the leather uppers still look good, it may be worth it to have your shoes resoled. By replacing the soles on your shoes, you may extend the life of your shoes by another two to three years. It all depends on the condition of the leather upper and the cost of resoling versus purchasing a new pair. If the price is too high to resole your shoes, it may be worth it to invest in a new pair. Leather shoe soles will wear out quickly if worn on concrete and asphalt. These hard surfaces will actually chew away at the leather soles. If you live in a city and walk daily on concrete, it is a good idea to buy shoes that have either rubber soles or soles with a rubber heel and a rubber strip underneath the ball of your foot. This will greatly extend the life of the sole. A cobbler can also add this rubber strip when resoling your shoes.
With proper care, you can get your shoes to look better for a longer period of time. You will save money by shining your shoes yourself and not having to buy new shoes every year. These simple maintenance tips will keep your shoes comfortable and your feet happy.
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