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HeartSong Bodywork
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The Feet and Massage Therapy
by Monica Miller

The balance and movement of our bodies is effected by the condition of our feet. Our feet also respond to the condition of our bodies, as well as the rigorous motions we put ourselves through during exercise, driving, and standing for long periods.
Keeping the blood circulation and lymph system moving, as well as toning the structure of the feet are important aspects of Massage Therapy.
Relaxation and better movement are keys to our well being.  Massage of the feet and lower legs can bring relief from physical stress. Foot Massage with focus on the "reflex points" is a perfect tool for this.
Reflexology has been termed “compression massage” and targets specific points on the feet.  These points are thought to be connected by a network of nerves that lead to organs, muscles and glands of the body.
Reflexology can break up crystalline deposits formed at the nerve endings and can result in better functioning.  The stimulation of these subcutaneous (beneath the skin) receptors can remove blockages and add to your vitality and balance.


Massage Therapy and conditions like Fibromyalgia
by Monica Miller
I am still piecing together information from articles, my previous class, and info from related websites giving information on Fibromyalgia.  As with most conditions, there are theories based on scientific studies and people's experiences.
It seems clear that because of physical trauma/injury or  emotional trauma (or sustained trauma of either kind) changes occur in the nervous system, hormonal system and in the chemical/nutritional supply that feeds the function of muscular contraction and release, the release/relaxation part of this process being inhibited – creating stiffness and inflammation.
These reactions can lead to changes in pain sensitivity, hormonal balance, and posture – especially upper back and neck posture, contributing to the forward tilt of the head. Anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression are often involved.  Emotional, physical & energetic responses are interwoven, each facet bringing its own sensations into the mix.
I believe, like with any type of balancing or healing we do in our lives, starting with one aspect (physical or emotional, for example) may be the key for one individual. Another person may be able to combine approaches utilizing methods effecting shifts “across the board”. 
Some sources promote the use of Swedish Massage for Fibromyalgia and related conditions, while others affirm that a structured and more specific system of massage with a delegated number of session and breaks in between certain numbers of sessions to be most beneficial.
It is said that gentle massage can be soothing and bring the benefits that massage is known for: increase of circulation, relaxation of muscle fibers, movement of lumph fluid, but that attention should be paid to the days when clients have “fibro flare ups” and are more sensitive to touch.
As with the general population, those with Fibromyalgia who are new to Massage Therapy may experience a little more fatigue or pain after the first few sessions, as the body is releasing buildups of chemicals such as calcium, increasing oxygen in the system, and stimulating more proper muscle states.
I will be writing more on this.                          
 A few links:
http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/644/Treating-Fibromyalgia
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/147083.php
http://www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/fibromyalgia_massage.html
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/268334.php

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Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic extracts which are distilled from a variety of aromatic plant material including grasses, leaves, flowers, needles & twigs, peel of fruit, wood and roots.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in their Vocabulary of Natural Materials (ISO/D1S9235.2) defines an essential oil as follows: "An essential oil is a product made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase."
Dr. Brian Lawrence states "For an essential oil to be a true essential oil, it must be isolated by physical means only. The physical methods used are distillation (steam, steam/water and water) or expression (also known as cold pressing, a unique feature for citrus peel oils). There is one other method of oil isolation specific to a very limited number of essential oil plants. This is a maceration/distillation. In the process, the plant material is macerated in warm water to release the enzyme-bound essential oil. Examples of oils produced by maceration are onion, garlic, wintergreen, bitter almond, etc. What is NOT an Essential oil is a CO2 extract, a halohydrocarbon extract or an empyreumatic distillate."

Common aromatherapy uses of some essential oils:
Clary sage – calming and sedating the nerves, helping with
depression, benefiting the kidneys & digestive system, as a tonic for the uterus, relieving headache & dizziness, especially during menopause.
Frankincense – soothing and calming the mind, relaxing the body,
benefiting the lungs, rejuvenation the skin.
Geranium - skin health, easing dermatitis & inflammation
Jasmine – helping with depression, easing nervousness, soothing &
toning the skin, easing muscle pain.
Juniper – relieving nervous tension & mental exhaustion, eliminating uric acid from the body, thereby benefiting the urinary system & relieving symptoms of arthritis, gout & rheumatism.
Myrrh - astringent, antifungal & antibacterial. Its drying nature is helpful for eczema and fungal rashes.
Peppermint is used for easing migraines, promoting digestion and helping mental focus and concentration.
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