Monday, October 29, 2018


A popular topic as of late, massage after trauma can often be just what the doctor ordered- literally! Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other trauma-related illnesses affect around 3.5% of U.S. adults with 1 in 11 people being diagnosed in their lifetime, according to the American Psychiatry Association. We often hear of war veterans coming home and experiencing PTSD, calling it "shell shock" or "combat fatigue," but in reality it can effect many others, with women having twice the risk of developing PTSD in their lifetimes compared to men. 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other trauma-related illnesses can be caused when the "fight or flight" instinct kicks into gear but gets overruled as part of your brain trying is to rationalize a situation, such as a minor car accident. When a situation like this happens, most people will try to tell themselves "it's fine, it's not that bad, I'm not hurt" and ignore the surge of adrenaline they're experiencing after the initial crash. Afterwards you may feel shaken up and jumpy, but continue to go about your business like nothing happened. This can lead to unresolved issues, causing PTSD or other similar symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, flash backs, chronic pain and fatigue. Even these symptoms could lead to PTSD if left un-diagnosed and untreated. This is where massage comes in!

How Can Massage Help with Trauma?

Multiple studies have shown us the benefits of massage, from increased flexibility to sleep improvement. Many doctors now prescribe massage along with physical therapy after minor accidents and injuries to speed recovery time and help those affected work through their injuries. Since a lot of what happens after an accident can have a mental effect, massage is a perfect adjunct treatment.  Massage can help reduce cortisol levels, improve sleep, and decrease tension. This can lead to a better outlook on life along with a reduction in pain and inflammation. Who wouldn't want that?

The American Massage Therapy Association  has an interesting way of putting it. After putting together a study, they came to understand that 6.5% of those subjects studied had a "lifetime prevalence" of PTSD while another 2.8% had a "30-day prevalence" of PTSD.  Those that suffered from PTSD were also at an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders. Their thinking is that many people who come in (approximately 75% of them women) that are looking for therapeutic massage are doing so due to stress, so the percentage of clients suffering from PTSD and other trauma-related issues would be much higher than the overall total of 9.3% (as stated above) since it's pulling from a smaller pool of subjects in total. 

Living with PTSD and other trauma-related issues isn't easy.  When your body goes through trauma, it's important to pay attention and listen to its needs as ignoring signals and symptoms can lead to something worse down the road. At Massage La Mesa, our therapists are trained to help those coming out of minor accidents or injuries to help speed their recovery time and work through their traumatic events. If you're interested in learning more about how massage can help after trauma, please contact our office before booking your session so we can discuss your needs and the best way to help you.

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Monday, October 22, 2018


It's finally here, the season you've been dreading: Cold and Flu Season! According to WebMD, approximately 1 BILLION people contract the common cold in the span of 1 year in the US, with children contracting colds between 6-12 times a year. Before you start spraying down your house with Lysol, however, let's talk about the Common Cold, Flu and ways to prevent both...naturally!

There are over 200 strains of viruses that cause the Common Cold, according to Wikipedia, and while there's two more common types of the Flu, Influenza A and B, each one has subtypes that can vary (read more about it here). This all sounds incredibly scary, but luckily there's a lot of ways to help prevent and even help treat Cold and Flu naturally, including a change in habits, diet and exercise. 

Let's talk about a change in habits first: 

One of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of Cold and Flu viruses is by covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze since the virus can travel through the air and infect others. Don't use your hands though! Always use the inside of your elbow so you don't accidentally spread the virus like if you were to use your hands. 

Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently using antibacterial soap. The ingredients in this type of soap will "kill" the viruses and help prevent infection in others. By thoroughly we mean using warm water, for at least 20 seconds, and get up past your wrists. Teach your kids to do the same by having them sing the "ABCs" or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." If you can't get to a sink, use hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands. 

Get enough sleep! We cannot stress this enough. When you get sick, your body needs time to rest and recover in order to fight off any infection. Not allowing yourself a good night's rest suppresses your immune system since sleep is your body's way of recovering and keeps everything in working order. By consistently getting enough sleep, you keep your immune system in top shape which allows you to stave off infections more effectively. 

Eating garlic and ginger have also been proven to help reduce symptoms of the cold and flu. One of my favorite ways to ingest this growing up was when we made a soup using bone broth, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, a pinch of cayenne and fresh lime juice. It sounds gross but it helped ease my symptoms and sped up recovery time. 

If you're doing all of the above and still get sick, another good way to prevent cold and flu is to reduce stress in your life. Some do that by exercising (which is another great way in itself for preventing infection!) or by other means. One of our favorite ways is through massage. Across many previous blog posts, we talk about how massage can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and relax the recipient. Reducing stress allows for better sleep and is a great way for keeping your body's immune system running smoothly. 

Think of it this way: say you're on a treadmill and the speed just keeps increasing, you're unable to slow it down or hop off so you just have to keep running, running, running. As you're accelerating it gets harder to keep up, so you start losing your balance and eventually fall off the treadmill and crash. The treadmill accelerating is your stress level, your body represents your immune system; as stress levels increase, your immune system has to fight harder to keep up until eventually it crashes. 

Since it's so important to try to de-stress in order to have a well-functioning immune system, we at Massage La Mesa combined massage and immune boosting to give you the upper hand when it comes to preventing cold and flu symptoms. Available until November 2nd, we created the Immune Booster Session, designed to invigorate the lymphatic system, boost circulation and give you an extra hand in staving off the cold and flu. We use our own blend of essential oils that are proven to work as anti-inflammatories and reduce the risk of infection, allowing you to rest easy knowing you gave your body the kindness it deserves! 

If you would like to learn more about the Immune Booster Session or other ways to prevent cold and flu, contact us at (619) 917-4675 or

Book your Immune Booster session today! Click here!

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Do you have something you'd like us to discuss in an upcoming blog post? Comment below or email us at:!

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 
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Friday, October 12, 2018


We've all been there, lying on a massage table doing everything possible to not cry out in pain at the excessive pressure being used on our soft tissue. We think to ourselves, "it's supposed to hurt! How is it going to get better if I don't tackle it head-on? No Pain, No Gain!"

Well, that's not necessarily true. Most people believe that in order to feel better, you have to feel worse, such as how muscle soreness after working out means your body is getting stronger. While it's true in that sense, muscle tension and muscle soreness are two different things. Muscle tension is caused by changes in the Nervous System, meaning that it's your brain sending signals to parts of your body to tighten and stay tight. Muscle soreness is caused by injury, overuse, underuse, or a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the area.

Here's a good example:

Someone who sits at a desk all day (like me) may experience muscle tension in their arms, neck and shoulders; this is caused by sitting in the same position using poor posture for an extended period of time without taking a minute to get up and stretch. This is what most people experience, if not in the same places. Muscle tension tends to make the area feel tight, uncomfortable and stiff.

An example of muscle soreness would be an athlete; someone who works out several times a week and plays a high-contact sport (say, football) may experience pain in their muscles from overuse and injury. Soreness tends to take a few days to go away and can often be helped by staying well hydrated and allowing the body time to recover after injury. Muscle soreness makes the area feel, well, sore and maybe even stiff or swollen if there's bruising in the area as well.

So why wouldn't excessive deep pressure help with muscle soreness or muscle tension?

According to Massage Magazine, excessive pressure isn't always the answer simply because it's creating the falsehood that other styles, such as Swedish massage, aren't effective. It's also creating the falsehood that using excessive pressure is the only way to get muscles to relax. That just isn't true.
Think about it this way: if you're receiving really deep pressure during a massage, more than maybe you can handle, are you going to enjoy it or cringe at the amount of pressure? If you're in so much pain you can't even relax during the massage, it's a good indicator that maybe you're not doing what's best for your muscles.

While some pain is okay, and even expected, there are two different kinds of pain. According to an article by Portland Monthly, there's "good pain" and "bad pain" when it comes to muscle relief and massage. "Good pain" is considered to be pain that's felt during a massage that's uncomfortable but you tend to feel immediate relief. "Bad pain" is excessive pain felt during a massage that can aggravate the issue, lead to bruising and there's little to no relief. In fact, excessive pressure and/or force could even lead to nerve damage.

We're not saying Deep Tissue massage is bad.  In fact, Deep Tissue can help with a number of ailments and many people prefer deeper work. The problem is when so much pressure is being used that instead of helping ease muscle tension only more is caused or even worse issues arise, such as nerve damage, bruising, or muscle aggravation.

Relaxing massage has it's place too.  These kinds of massages, while having a lighter touch, can help to reduce stress, stimulate the blood flow, lower blood pressure, ease muscle pain and help the body to recover. Excessive force isn't always needed to really correct what's going on with your body, so it's important to have open and honest communication with your massage therapist about your health history, your aches and pains, and even your moods or stuff that's going on that could lead to stress and anxiety.

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In order to really achieve pain alleviation and improvement, your body needs to recover first before building back its strength, especially as an athlete. A good mixture of Deep Tissue and Relaxing massages can be utilized to achieve this, but it's important to not overdo the pressure as this can be counter-productive and lead to more pain and lengthen your recovery time.

Always be open and honest with your massage therapist about your needs and remember that massage isn't supposed to hurt, it's supposed to make you feel good!

Do you have something you'd like us to discuss in an upcoming blog post? Comment below or email us at:!

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 
Book now by clicking HERE.

Friday, October 5, 2018


What is Pain?

A simple enough question, but somehow still difficult to answer. The best way to explain what pain is is to think of it as an alarm system that will alert us to physical emergencies or issues that need attending to in our bodies. When the nerves in our hand are alerted to the presence of fire, for example, those nerves will send signals back to the brain warning us of a possible painful scenario, then send signals back to our hand telling us to draw it back. It's a process that takes microseconds and keeps us out of immediate danger. It's also your body's way of communicating that something is wrong and needs to be looked at, such as with broken bones or internal bleeding. Since these warning signals are sent from the brain, they're thought of as "output of the brain," but should not be thought of as something that's all in your head. However your body's sensitivity can be altered, alerting you to issues that wouldn't normally require a high level of response. That's where Pain Science comes in!

So, what is Pain Science?

According to Massage & Bodywork, pain science is "science that seeks to understand and explain the process of pain perception." Part of pain science is looking at the different factors that influence pain and how it's felt along with how those individual factors are influenced or altered.

Here's the scientific breakdown:
Nociceptors are sensory receptors in the body. They are responsible for sending chemical, mechanical and thermal stimuli to the brain. This is known as nociception. When a strong signal is registered, the nociceptors may skip the brain entirely and go straight to the motor fibers leaving the spinal cord (i.e., brushing up against a hot object).

Here's an example of Nociception at work!
When a person has extreme tissue damage, their nociceptors will receive fewer pain signals, or none at all. This happens where tissue and nerve damage have occurred so greatly that a person's skin may have little to no feeling.

On the other end of the spectrum is allodynia, or pain felt from stimulus that would normally not be painful. This is caused by an increased sensitivity of the Central Nervous System to the stimulus, or "central sensitization." Something as simple as rubbing your arm could be considered painful.

There are multiple factors to pain response, which is why not everyone will react the same way in similar situations or even feel pain the same way. They include sensory processing, memory, biochemical stress, tissue chemistry, psychological and social factors and other physiological issues.

The Biopsychosocial Model (Venn Diagram)
These findings are relatively recent, with credit going to George L. Engel for creating the Biopsychosocial Model, or "BPS" Model back in 1977. The BPS Model came around due to the lack of science surrounding psychiatry and other aspects of patient care, leading to an inadequate treatment of patients and illnesses. His findings showed us that illnesses were often more than just their physical elements and other factors, such as those mentioned above, could impact a person's health as well. It became a more inclusive way of treating patients, allowing for better care.

How can massage help with Pain?

The BPS Model is often used in massage since we now know that mental factors can often lead to an output of pain. As we've discussed in previous blog posts, during a massage your body releases endorphins and oxytocin, helping you to relax and feel happy. There is also a decrease in cortisol, which causes stress. Massage is not just about "getting the knots out," it's about looking at the body and mind as one and helping to heal on all levels by treating the body as a whole. 

Multiple studies have shown that massage can help reduce stress, tension, improve sleep, help with depression, decrease inflammation and increase flexibility. We already know that stress and tension can present themselves as physical illness (stiff shoulders and neck, headaches, upset stomach), which is why the BPS Model comes in so handy. By looking at the body as a whole and learning someone's experiences, attitude and culture, we can begin to understand why that person is feeling pain and what we can do to resolve it. 

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Massage is recommended for a number of reasons as it's beneficial for those suffering from mental and physical illness. If these two are so often intertwined, why not treat them both?

We always recommend speaking to your primary care physician first before starting any  treatment to ensure that massage is the best option for you.

Do you have something you'd like us to discuss in an upcoming blog post? Comment below or email us at:!

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 
Book now by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


What is CBD Oil?

CBD Oil: one of the newer items to hit the market that seems to be all the rage. According to Medical News Today, CBD is credited with helping people with certain types of epilepsy, working as a natural anti-inflammatory, helping those going through withdrawal, fighting cancer, treating acne, decreasing anxiety, and even easing inflammation in the pancreas due to Type I Diabetes. 

CBD Oil come from one of the compounds known as cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. The oil contains high concentrations of the cannabinoids (hence the name CBD). CBD is NOT marijuana, which contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and is responsible for the mind-altering effects associated with the plant. CBD comes from the least processed form of the plant, known as hemp, and does not contain any psychoactive ingredients. 

How does it work?

Cannabinoids produce effects by attaching to certain receptors in the body. These receptors are known as CB1 (found mostly in the brain) and CB2 (found in the immune system). Our bodies actually create cannabinoids on their own, so when CBD Oil is introduced to our bodies, it simply directs the body to use more of its own cannabinoids instead of attaching to the CB2 receptors, which are responsible for inflammation and pain. This is why CBD Oil is thought to help ease pain, inflammation and many other ailments in the body. 

CBD Oil can be used to make creams, pastes, or even inserted into capsules to be taken orally. In a massage, the therapist would use a CBD-infused cream to treat the whole body or use the oil directly on "hot spots," or areas with extreme inflammation. 

The Believed Benefits of CBD Oil

In a study published by the Journal of Experimental Medicine, CBD was shown to decrease chronic inflammation in mice and rats. CBD Oil is thought to be more of a natural pain relief, providing an alternative to Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen. 

In a study published in Addictive Behaviors, CBD Oil was shown to decrease cigarette use in heavy smokers by using an inhaler containing CBD instead. There was another review published in Neurotherapeutics showing similar findings, calling CBD a "promising treatment for people with opioid addiction disorders" while decreasing symptoms associated with substance use, such as anxiety, mood, pain and insomnia. 

The FDA has recently approved the use of CBD Oil for treating two types conditions characterized by epileptic seizures: Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome, however they have limited the use to anyone over the age of 2 and only with proof that other treatments have been ineffective. Findings in a 2014 review of CBD Oil concluded that its use may also treat complications linked to epilepsy, such as neurodegeneration, neuronal injury and psychiatric disease. 

Findings in a review published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology concluded that CBD Oil helped prevent the spread of cancer and suppress the growth of cancer cells. CBD was also shown to have low toxicity, unlike other treatments for cancer. 

One of the biggest reasons people advocate for CBD Oil is its supposed effectiveness in the treatment of anxiety disorders. There have been findings supporting this, saying that CBD may help decrease anxiety in related disorders such as PTSD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and OCD. 

There seem to be other uses for CBD Oil as treatment for other conditions, with the list growing nearly every day. 

Is it legal?

While CBD Oil is legal, it is not FDA approved.  State and federal laws differ and they can often be confusing along with changing frequently.  Another noteworthy fact is CBD Oil has no product regulation, meaning quality can vary greatly between companies or even batches.  If you're an essential oil user, you can think of this in the same way as choosing where to purchase your essential oils.  Anything you put on your body, even if only topically, is important to have a good quality product.  Do your homework before purchasing.     

What's the downside to CBD Oil?

According to WebMD, many of the studies done on CBD Oil can be called into question because of their lack of control groups and a lack of human testing. Most studies done have been on animals, meaning results may not be as specific as if they were done on people. Those studies that did take place on humans didn't have control groups, meaning there wasn't a way of differing the actual effect from that of a placebo. 

Because the regulation lacks so greatly, it could also lead to potential interactions with other medications or may possibly harm the liver. 

Side Effects and Risks

There aren't really any long-term studies regarding the risks of CBD Oil and there doesn't seem to be many side effects either. The most common side effects seen in adults are tiredness and changes in appetite and weight. There are no significant side effects on the Central Nervous System either. Studies have shown that adults can tolerate a wide range of doses well, meaning that there's no indication of toxicity. 

The biggest risk of CBD Oil seems to be in the lack of regulation itself; since the actual oil is not regulated by the FDA, quality can vary greatly. 

To sum it all up, CBD Oil has become one of the newest homeopathic and natural fads to spread across the globe and those who have experience a massage with it will tell you how much they love it. Massage therapists love it too simply because the oil itself is versatile, meaning it can be used as a spot treatment or mixed with massage cream to treat the whole body. Because CBD Oil has so many uses, massage therapists everywhere are adding it to their arsenal of pain-fighting remedies. 

While we currently do not offer CBD Oil massage here at Massage La Mesa, there are many businesses in San Diego alone who do. We leave it up to you, our readers, to decide if CBD Oil Massage is the way to go!

Always consult your doctor before receiving treatment. 

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Do you have something you'd like us to discuss in an upcoming blog post? Comment below or email us at:!

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 
Book now by clicking HERE.