Following the amazingly warm response to my blog about hand massages for people with dementia, the Uttlesford Community Hub Dementia Cafe asked if I would join them at one of their weekly meetings to teach the group some simple hand massage techniques for dementia. I immediately said yes - and following a truly inspiring experience, I wanted to share a bit more about the session and spread the word about how quick it is to learn some simple tips and techniques that will help you deliver a soothing hand massage.Read More
If you’re a new mum, are crying out for a post-natal massage, and live in or near Buckhurst Hill then read on…I’ve got your back
Since having Theo I feel that my body has taken a battering! Sound familiar? Let’s try to help each other a little. If anyone else feels the same then I can reassure you about how massage therapy can help, we can help each other through, and share some tips on how to look after ourselves…Read More
Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder causing pain and fatigue in the muscles and fibrous tissues all over the body. The pain can vary, from an ache to a burning sensation or even a constant sharp, stabbing pain.
For people living with FMS, there is not yet one clear path of recommended treatment, yet for some massage therapy can be a huge help...Read More
If you're hitting the gym hard this January, don't forget to be kind to your muscles! It's very important to rest in between workouts to give your muscles the chance to heal and repair.Read More
A year ago today I quit my job and started the idea for Massage and Me. Thanks for supporting me along the way!
One year later, and things are pretty amazing! Just shows that even a usually risk-averse person can take a leap of faith, let their instincts take over, and end up with a job they love. Thanks for supporting me, Team Massage and Me. Here's how I ended up here...Read More
There's no hard rule on which oil to use for massage. There are a huge number out there and each have different benefits. I've tried quiiiiiite a few, and it's really a case of use whichever is best for you and your skin. My personal favourites are: Sweet almond oil and Jojoba oil. Here's why...Read More
Tomorrow I start a new regular booking at a local care home in Essex. It's the same home that took care of my Grandma before she sadly passed away. They have over seventy elderly residents, a number of whom have dementia, and I'm so pleased that they recognise massage as an important part of their residents' care.
Let's not get carried away - I'm not going to be doing any deep tissue techniques or using firm pressure. The massage techniques I'll be using with these residents are focused on soothing, aimed to make residents feel comfortable and at ease. We call it 'pamper time' and I aim to provide just that.
My Grandma was without my Grandad for 15 long years before she left us. She missed so many things about him, but one was simply holding his hand. The soothing touch of a hand can work wonders in evoking feelings of reassurance, trust, protection and relaxation. This simple act of touch is just one example of why complementary therapy is such a powerful way of helping people.
Before becoming a Massage Therapist, I used to work for Alzheimer's Society, so I'm really looking forward to reconnecting with the people I felt so passionate about helping.
If you're affected by dementia, and are thinking about massage therapy for yourself or a loved one, here are some quick reference points to show the benefits that massage can bring:
Benefits of massage to elderly people and people with dementia:
- A short hand massage can encourage a relaxation response in the brain, decreasing our levels of cortisol (a stress hormone). This is particularly important in elderly people as our immune system is stronger when cortisol levels are lowered. Massage can also increase levels of serotonin in the body. This is a neurochemical which regulates mood and enhances feelings of calm and relaxation.
- Massage can help release endorphins, which in turn make us feel happy and energised. Even if a person with dementia cannot remember having had a massage that day, they may remember the feeling of being happy. They may remember that they did something enjoyable that day, even if their precise memory of it has been displaced. It is important to keep doing these enjoyable activities, ensuring we keep releasing the valuable endorphins that our bodies need.
- Soothing massage strokes and comforting touch can help create a sense of trust for a person with dementia. This soothing touch can help to reassure and to reduce distress. It can also help people with dementia to feel comfortable in the company of others without the pressure of conversation or daunting questions.
It is important to understand the expectations of complementary massage therapy for elderly people. It will not 'take 50 years off' and leave them doing laps around their care home grounds, nor will it cure illnesses. However, it does bring a number of physical and psychological benefits (of which we have just scratched the surface), which can help to make residents much more comfortable.
More information on dementia:
I am not a Dementia Care Specialist by any means, and this blog is based on: my observations, personal experience and further reading. If you'd like to find out more or need advice about living with dementia and helping others living with the condition, please contact Alzheimer's Society who are here to help: 0300 222 1122, or see here for more information: www.alzheimers.org.uk/helpline
Wish me luck for my first day! I'll let you know how it all goes, and also share any tips I pick up for those of you who are carers for any elderly loved ones. I admire you all - what a selfless and wonderful thing you are doing.
I hope this has helped some of you, or will at least help to increase our awareness of each other's needs in the future.
Take care all, M&M x
'Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information'
As stated by The Mental Health Foundation, in reference to their report ‘Sleep Matters’.
During a busy week (or month), in order to cram in as much as possible to our day, sleep is often the first thing that is neglected:
‘If I just have a 6-hour sleep tonight, I’ll be able to get that report finished, put the kids to bed and respond to those 5 million What’s App texts before bed.’ Uh-huh...
What are the effects of not getting enough sleep?
Night after night most of us squeeze our nightly rest into as little as four or five hours. A one-off might be ok, however if we do this again and again, just a few hours sleep can be extremely counter-productive, leaving us: moody, exhausted, irritable, lacking concentration and unable to hold an eloquent conversation.
I am definitely guilty of this, and certainly suffer from these consequences above when I get six hours of sleep or less a night. If this lack of sleep continues more than a few days we may feel extremely emotional, experience apathy, slowed speech and flattened emotional responses as well as impaired memory and the inability to multi-task. All of which are pretty vital for most careers, right? Yikes.
Sleeping helps nourish our brain power:
Whilst we sleep and rest, our brains are actually hard at work processing thoughts from that day; busy creating pathways for new memories and insights. Without that crucial sleep each night, we may struggle to pay attention and respond to the best of our ability.
New parents with young babies, perhaps get as little as three or four hours a day, broken up into painfully small chunks as they grab sleep whenever they can throughout the day and night. Shift workers are also particularly prone to sleep deprivation from night shifts and constantly changing their sleep patterns. There is no fixed number of hours that we should all have; each of us have different bodies and different lifestyles, therefore the amount of sleep we need varies from 7 to 11 hours. Taking into account the side effects above, most of us know if we have had enough sleep or not.
So how can we stop ourselves from feeling like zombies? Here are a few other tips to help combat sleep depravation:
Getting regular exercise (may sound crazy to exercise in order to sleep more, but 'tis true).
Set an alarm half an hour before you want to be in bed, to remind you to: turn off that TV, prepare for bed, get your bathroom routine done in good time.
Put on those PJs at least an hour before bed, to get your mind into a more sleepy zone.
Minimise noise, light and excessive hot and cold temperatures where you sleep.
Minimise the amount of caffeine you drink each day and especially avoid caffeine at least six hours before lights out.
Avoid using your blackberry/answering those work emails at least an hour before bed and try to help your brain switch off from ‘work mode’.
How does lack of sleep impact our health?
Stress is naturally the number one cause of sleeping difficulties, as well as job and family pressures. Health wise, there are a growing number of studies to prove that there are strong links between a lack of sleep and obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our immune system can also be effected, unable to protect our bodies to maximum effect.
How can massage help?
You don’t have to have cognitive behavioural therapy to solve sleep depravity problems; massage can be a wonderful way to prepare your body and mind for sleep. Also taking the time to concentrate on your body and also your state of mind is an important step to prioritise sleep and rest in your daily routine.
Whilst I sadly cannot help to take away your work woes and family pressures, Massage & Me can help you to adopt some healthy sleep routines and also to prepare your body and mind for a healthy overnight rest. Here is a little reminder of the benefits massage can bring us.
Sleep tight all, M&M x
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