Sunday, August 11, 2019

RESISTANCE BANDS VS FREE WEIGHTS

Which is Better: Resistance Bands or Free Weights?
There’s a common misconception that gaining serious muscle is only achievable by throwing heavy weights around in a gym. The truth is, there are many ways to get to where you want to go in your fitness journey. 
Let’s look at the goal of building muscle, specifically. What your body responds to is tension, or resistance, and there’s a myriad of ways to get that. Curl a giant rock; That creates resistance. Sit on a bicep machine in a gym; That’s resistance, too. Free weights, resistance bands, machines—They’re all tools that create mechanical tension to build muscle.
Today, we’re going to dive into two distinct methods of muscle building using mechanical tension. We’re going to explore their similarities and differences between resistance bands and free weights. Throughout this post, we’ll identify and address some commonly asked questions around resistance band training. First, let’s tackle the most popular question.
Are resistance bands effective for building muscle?
In short, yes, absolutely. We’ll outline the key ways in which resistance bands kick ass for building muscle. 
Progressive Resistance
Let’s first think in terms of progressive resistance. As we get stronger, we need to push ourselves harder in our workouts. Simply put, that means lifting heavier and heavier as time goes on to challenge our muscles. With weights, this is fairly straightforward to do as long as you have access to a rack of dumbells spanning a variety of weight—You just go up in numbers as your strength increases.
It’s also possible to achieve progressive overload using only resistance bands. Except, instead of needing a full wall of bulky weights spanning 5 to 100+ lbs., you need a handful of resistance bands that can fit in a single backpack. With a set of resistance bands ranging from extra-small to extra-heavy you can progressively go heavier in your workouts as you get stronger. With enough dedication and a healthy lifestyle, you can see the same results with five bands as you would expect with a huge range of free weights.
Sidenote: Before we go on, we’ll note that resistance bands are similar to resistance tubes. They’re close relatives, if you will. The major difference is that resistance bands are flat and form a full loop, while resistance tubes are cylindrical and have handles on each end. We work with looped resistance bands, but when it comes to resistance bands vs tubes, consider them as mostly interchangeable.
Linear Variable Resistance
This innate versatility of resistance bands is, in part, due to their linear variable resistance. This means that as you stretch a band, it gets heavier. Take a rubber band, for instance. When you initially remove the slack, the band is bouncy and malleable. The farther you stretch it, however, the more tension you feel, and the more force you need to use to keep it taut. Resistance bands are just the same. Interestingly, this aspect of resistance band training happens to be one of the most beneficial in terms of gaining muscle. Because the band actually increases in weight the farther you stretch it, any given resistance band exercises’ resistance pattern matches the natural strength curve of our muscles. 
Wait, what?
Envision yourself doing a curl. At the bottom of the curl, the weight feels pretty dang heavy. Sometimes, getting past that initial sticky point requires a micro cheat-swing or even a spotter’s aid. That’s because we’re typically weaker at the bottom. As our hand moves up past that weak point, our bicep engages and we’re able to get through the whole curl motion. 
With bands, that weak-point issue doesn’t exist. Due to linear variable resistance, the band is lighter at the bottom with more slack. As you move your hand upward into the curl position, the weight increases. Resistance bands allow you to feel the tension when you want it—when it’s most beneficial for strength building. That’s why power lifters commonly use resistance bands in combination with free weights: to efficiently improve the strength in their squat, bench press, and other moves.
Constant Tension
To bring this point a step further, bands offer something that free weights don’t: constant tension. At the top of the curl aforementioned, there’s another lull-spot. There, you can rest the weight with little to no effort due to the composition of your arm. However, that’s where you should be contracting your muscle the most to gain from the exercise. 
With resistance bands, you’ll feel tension throughout the entire range of motion. You don’t have to rely on gravity as you do with free weights to create the resistance. The constant tension that resistance bands offer is extremely important in building muscle, spurring a degree of metabolic stress and pump that free weights lack. 
Multiple Planes
Another key benefit of using resistance bands for building muscle is their ability to work in multiple planes. With free weights, resistance only applies in one vertical plane—That’s due to our dear friend, gravity. To do a bench press, for instance, you have to lay on your back and press the weights directly upwards to feel tension.
With bands, we’re not confined to gravity’s pull on a dumbbell to feel that resistance. The bands themselves are the resistance. Stand up, lay down, heck, hang upside down if you really want, it doesn’t matter. In pulling the band, we can achieve the tension we need to build muscle in any plane. 
This benefit really comes into play when considering function. Take a big football player. In a gym, he could bench 400 pounds for 10 reps, maybe. But once you stand him up tall, the strength doesn’t translate the same way, What was strength focused solely in his upper body now applies to his entire body. Starting from the ground up, he now has to engage his feet, legs, and core to stabilize and energize through the exercise. For this reason, resistance band training is a technique often adopted by professional athletes from baseball players to martial artists to increase core stability and full-body power. 
Those are some of the key advantages to using resistance bands for building muscle. On to the next question.
How do you use resistance bands for weight training?
Like building muscle with free weights, resistance band training requires body part specific workouts, intensity in training, and the right ratio of reps and sets. Utilizing the technique of progressive resistance, you can continually add-on tension throughout your resistance band workouts to stress your muscles and maximize your gains. 
Another similarity between free weight training and resistance band training is the ability to control rep speed. Whether you’re performing a concentric movement (positive), eccentric movement, (negative), or even isometric (no movement) exercise, resistance bands allow you to perform reps at whatever speed you choose. 
Actually, resistance bands have an additional leg-up due to their unique ability to train explosively. Imagine doing a shoulder press with a heavy free weight. The weight will pick up some momentum as it moves higher and lower and rob you of resistance. With resistance bands, you can’t create the same sort of momentum, which means you get the full benefit of your effort. Ultimately, this leads to better results in building muscle. Muscle fibers that have the ability to grow bigger and stronger, AKA your fast-twitch muscles, are activated in explosive training.
There’s a lot of crossover in training techniques between free weights v resistance bands, yet bands demonstrate distinct advantages. 

That brings us to our final, but most important question.
Is resistance training better than free weights?
Considering the advantages of linear variable resistance, multi-plane capabilitycoupled with constant tension, and the added convenience of being lightweight, portable, and cost-effective, there’s no downside to resistance training. At the end of the day, it’s about tension, and resistance bands offer that and more.
Not only can resistance bands deliver the same results as free weights, they even have advantages over them:
Band Training Increases Effort Without Knowing It 
Strength training with bands (vs. with weights) incorporates a unique “Ascending Resistance” that challenges you to have to push throughout the entire range of motion versus using the constant resistance of free weights. This need to push throughout the full range of motion automatically increases effort in any strength training program. 
Perform Any Movement 
Resistance bands are not influenced by gravity which allows them to be used to perform hundreds of exercises that weights can not. 
Time-Efficient Workout Options 
How much time does it take to set up 3 or 4 bands to strength train with? The answer is a whole lot less than having to travel to the gym or bring out all those dumbbells, kettlebells or other free weight tools.
With proper technique and discipline, you can see results from bands that surpass that of free weights without the negative side effects that weights can spur.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

THE POWER OF ESSENTIAL OIL THERAPY

THE POWER OF ESSENTIAL OIL THERAPY
ESSENTIAL OIL ISN'T QUACK MEDICINE
In 2014 we spent over $374 BILLION dollars in healthcare.  On a per-person basis that's 40% more than any other country and yet we are not getting any healthier.  Instead we are pumped up with non-steroid painkillers, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, and weight loss prescriptions.  Our tissues are also loaded with pesticides, artificial hormones, petrochemicals, and antibiotics. We are undernourished and yet overfed.  We are the sickest generation in history while spending the most to be well. 
We are also oversold on the power and safety of the pharmaceutical industry.  If you read any of the contraindications of any FDA approved drug, you will be amazed at the danger they can pose.  In fact the lobbying power of the pharma industry is so powerful that the FDA bows down to them to repress the power and safety of natural healing approaches.  
Essentials Oils are a natural healing approach that has been scientifically evaluated time and again, but because it uses natural substances that cannot be patent-protected, it is under the thumb of the FDA as being GRAS or Generally Recognized as Safe products but cannot ever become an FDA approved drug.  Don't be fooled, there is more to natural therapies than what meets the eye.  


A NATURAL YET COMPLEX SUBSTANCE
Essential Oils are today's natural miracle remedies, yet they have been around for centuries.  They have become a bit of a buzz lately as science has caught up with their true value.  There are hundreds maybe thousands of essential oil products today — all derived from organic materials from the plant world by extracting these substances from bark, sap, leaves, twigs, fruit, roots, and just about any part of a living plant where they may reside.  
They are complex blends of a variety of volatile molecules such as terpenoids, phenol-derived aromatic components, and aliphatic components.  Since the middle ages, essential oils have been widely used for bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, anti-parasitical, insecticidal, and other medicinal properties such as analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic, and locally anesthetic remedies. 
Most essential oil is manufactured for food and fragrance industries and only focus on taste and smell.  These have no therapeutic value, in fact can even be harmful with contamination of other chemicals.  We never use low-cost essential oil but only 100% pure therapeutic grade that is safe to use.  These promote restoration and provide balance for the bodies many complex systems.

PROVIDES SYSTEMIC PENETRATION
Essential Oil is pure and highly concentrated but it cannot be used at 100% concentration.  It needs to be diluted to levels that are safe and designed for a specific purpose.  We massage them into the skin and they naturally move into tissue and fascia. They are blended with our own Thai Sport formula of olive oil, jojoba, coconut, and safflower oil at 1%-3% concentration.  One can also inhale them as they are being used — known as aromatherapy.  Both are effective. Essential oil compounds are small, fat-soluble molecules, able to permeate the membranes including the skin before being captured by the microcirculation and drained into the systemic circulation, which reaches all targets organs.  On occasion, one can feel and even taste the essential oil as it moves from the skin into the systemic circulation.  Unlike the dangerous DMSO solvent, which affects the integrity of our outer layers of skin, Essential Oil is completely safe nor can it drag into the body any impurities.

WE FOCUS ON THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS 
We focus on essential oils that provide therapy for muscles, joints, and fascia.   We have developed a number of blended treatments designed to focus on specific results.  We also sell these for take home use.  Ask your therapist about them.  Our take home prices are usually half the price of Essential Oil massage products from Bed Bath & Beyond, and are they are designed for therapeutic purposes, not just a good smelling experience.

TEN THINGS NOT TO DO BEFORE A MASSAGE


TEN THINGS NOT TO DO BEFORE A MASSAGE
We want you to have a great massage experience and get the results you are looking for (and paying).  This list will help ensure that.  

Have a Great Massage!

1. Don't Sunburn
When your skin is sunburned it becomes inflamed and highly irritated, usually over large portions of your body like the back and shoulders. It's not a good idea to receive a massage while your skin is burned because we have to work through the skin to affect the muscles and also because of the affects to the circulatory system. If you get a sunburn, it's best to just reschedule your massage.

2. Don't "Caffeinate"
Drinking Coffee or caffeinated drinks just before a massage can be enough to prevent you from relaxing completely during your session. In your head you'll likely be making lists and reviewing things from work instead of lounging on a tropical beach watching the waves.  Your body will be tense and will tend to fight against the therapist.  Relax and drink plenty of water before you come!

3. Don't Eat a Large Meal
Our therapy is Thai Style (in most cases) this puts pressure on your back and therefore your stomach.  It's not a good idea to have a large meal siting there because you may feel as if you will pop.  It's perfectly ok to eat a normal meal before you come in.

4. Don't Run a Marathon
We do a LOT of athletes and many come in before and after a major sporting event. Certain sporting events like Marathons, Triathlons, and Extreme Sports are very hard on the body.  Give yourself a day or two of absolute rest before you sic our therapists on your muscles.  Your body will appreciate it.

5. Don't Apply Lotion or Oil
It is smart, courteous and highly preferred that you shower just before a massage. But remember not to apply any lotion or oil to your skin. During your massage, you will be covered in massage lotion or oil which may or may not mix well with your own personal choice for skin moisturizer. 

6. Don't Apply Topical Medications, Patches or Tapes
Any topical medication that you apply to your skin could be spread over your entire body during massage. If you need cooling gels like Biofreeze remember to wait until after your session to apply them. Performance tapes and patches can cause your massage therapist to avoid the area that really needs focus.

7. Don't Take Prescription Pain Medication
If you are in enough pain that you must take medication it is best to reschedule your massage. Muscle relaxers, mood stabilizers, and pain medications can interfere with your perception of pain and/or your ability to communicate with your massage therapist. Any medication meant to thin the blood should also be avoided because of the pressure and increase of blood circulation caused during massage.  

8. Don't Have a Half Empty Bladder!
You might think that's ok because you can "hold it" for hours but during a massage, a lot of fluid is being pushed from your tissues into your bloodstream, and then into your liver and kidneys.  The last thing you want to do is feel like you have to pee when our therapists are stretching you or walking on your back.  It's not only uncomfortable but it will hurt, causing you to tense up and beg to use the restroom. 

That's it.  Hope this helps!

The Root of Wellness

WHAT IS A SPORTS MASSAGE?

WHAT IS A SPORTS MASSAGE?

Many hear the term Sports Massage, but what exactly is it?

Sports massage is similar to other types of western massage techniques in that it stimulates the circulation of the blood and the lymph fluids and can improve stretching of tendons and connective tissue. But it also provides specific benefits ideal for athletes such as relief of muscle tension and increasing muscle blood flow. It can also speed up muscle recovery and remove lactate after exercise. 

There are four types of sports massages:
  • Before The Event -- A short, stimulating sport massage given before a sports event for the parts of the body to be involved in the activity.
  • After The Event -- A sports massage delivered within two hours of the event, to help normalize your body's tissues.
  • Restoration -- given during training to allow the athlete to train harder and with less injury.
  • Rehabilitation -- Designed to alleviate pain due to an injury as well as returning the body to health.

Here at The Root of Wellness, you benefit from the rehabilitative approach to Sports Massage our intent is usually two-fold - help aid recovery and reduce/manage scar tissue from an injury.

By the way, we employ these methods to anyone who can benefit from a Sports Massage.

During our Sports Massage session, we start with effleurage, which means "to skim" or "to touch lightly on", is a series of massage strokes used in Swedish massage to warm up the muscle.  Then we move to Petrissage and Anma, which means "to knead" and are massage movements with applied pressure that are deep and compress the underlying muscles. We may also do wringing, skin rolling and pick-up-and-squeeze motions.

These actions are all performed with the palm of the hand, the surface of the finger and also the thumbs, compression, with broadening strokes and range of motion, which is deeper tissue massage.

Whether you experience a Thai Sports Massage or a Root of It - Thai Therapeutic Massage, we use the same Sport Massage techniques.  The only difference is that with Thai Therapeutic we will add the benefits of Myofascial or Active Release Technique.  This more advanced technique is very useful to relief painful movements of the arms and feet.

At The Root of Wellness, you get the benefits of Thai Massage coupled with a Sports Massage and more, depending on your needs.  We are truly a fresh and new approach to massage therapy.

A DEEPER LOOK AT THAI MASSAGE


A DEEPER LOOK AT THAI MASSAGE
Thai Massage is relatively new to the United States.  Some still think Thai Massage means a "happy ending" massage or just something that's cheap because it's Asian.  Nothing could be further from the truth, though some businesses may be in this kind of business, a real Thai Massage is none of these things.   

Thai Massage, Thai Therapy,  Thai Yoga Massage, Nuad Phaen Boran, or Nuat Thai all mean the same thing and is becoming the most popular massage technique in America.  It's different from other types of massage in that no oil is used, the therapist uses a comfortable floor mat (versus a massage table), and the client remains clothed throughout the massage.

A floor mat is very important because Thai massage uses pressure point massage that goes much deeper than the hands alone.  We need to have full access to the body with our hands, elbows, arms, and even feet.  We also employ stretching using Yoga like stretches that require the therapist to manipulate the body with her body motions.   All of this is done with the client being dressed in their underclothes to permit comfortable movement.
  
Thai massage pressure point and stretching benefits those who are stiff, sore, and tired from over-exertion in work or sports, or from arthritis or other debilitating diseases. It enhances strength and flexibility, relaxes sore or tense muscles, and helps re-capture lost range of motion. It also encourages lymphatic function to detoxify the body, increase the immune system, and prevent disease and/or injury by promoting flexibility.

The origin of Thai massage is largely misunderstood. Based on recent research, it's now understood that Thai massage was created by the Thais people between 800 - 1200 AD.
They were "influenced" by multiple disciplines such as Theravada Buddhism, Ayurveda, Hatha Yoga, and Indigenous Practices of the native Tai people dating back several centuries.

At The Root of Wellness we take traditional Thai Massage to a new level.  First, all of our sessions include Thai therapy, but we also employ western techniques such as Sports Massage and Medical Massage so when you see the oil coming out, we are mixing it up, to increase circulation and move lymph fluids out for toxin removal. When we employ western styles, we will use what is best depending on the kind of pressure and the type of therapy will work best.

FIVE MYTHS OF MASSAGE THERAPY


FIVE MYTHS OF MASSAGE THERAPY
MYTH 1: A MASSAGE IS A MASSAGE — NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO.
Fact: Not all massages are created equal. In a spa setting, massage techniques promote relaxation on a massage table, which limits the therapist's reach and depth. Massage therapy in our therapeutic setting is given by licensed professionals who are trained to find and focus on problem areas. You may come in with backache, for example, and learn that the problem begins in your ankles. Our therapists promote healing and can reach any point of the body with easy access from comfortable floor beds.  

MYTH 2: MASSAGE THERAPY MAINLY INVOLVES MOVING MUSCLES.
Fact: Massage does more than manipulate muscles. Massage can stretch tightened areas of the fascia, a seamless tissue layer connecting muscles, bones, and organs. Our massage can manually move fluids to loosen joints, reduce swelling and make movement easier. For example, synovial fluid, which normally lubricates the joints, can build up painfully in arthritic joints. And lymph, a fluid that normally moves through the body to fight infection, can cause painful swelling. Massage may help increase circulation of the blood, which moves nutrients through the body and speeds healing.

MYTH 3: THE EFFECTS OF MASSAGE ARE TEMPORARY.
Fact: A good massage therapist does more than address temporary aches and pains. He or she wants you to be as comfortable as possible after the massage’s effects wear off. Muscles have a long memory. Holding them in an awkward position — such as craning your neck forward to see a computer at work — can cut off nerve pathways. This triggers neck and shoulder tension, upper back pain, and sometimes numbness and tingling down through the hands. Regular massages let a therapist address your pain patterns and re-educate muscles to improve body mechanics and posture.

MYTH 4: MASSAGES DON’T HELP MIGRAINES — LYING DOWN IS THE ONLY CURE.
Fact: Massage therapy is a complementary treatment for migraine headaches. Head massage applies pressure to trigger points in the neck, shoulders, head and even face can help release tension. This may interrupt pain signals that would otherwise travel up to the blood vessels supplying the brain. Problems in the way these blood vessels function are believed to produce migraine symptoms: severe headache, visual disturbances, nausea, and light sensitivity.

MYTH 5: DON’T INTERRUPT A THERAPIST DURING A MASSAGE, EVEN IF IT HURTS.
Fact: You may feel uncomfortable while a massage therapist applies deep pressure to release a “knot” of muscle tissue. But if pain or discomfort persists, speak up. Sensations that are painful in a “good” way should be temporary. Don’t hesitate to talk to your massage therapist about any discomfort. He or she will want to know and will make adjustments accordingly.