Just as plants draw nourishment from the earth and will not thrive if the soil is poor, if our bodies are poorly nourished, the signs soon become evident.
Janna, a qualified naturopath who is also a massage therapist, offers the following advice to fellow therapists.
‘As massage therapists, we use our bodies a lot. If the body is not being properly nourished, it will soon feel sluggish and tired, and physical exercise (for example giving massage) will only make us feel worse. Good nutrition boosts the immune system, making us less susceptible to colds or other viruses so that we don’t have to miss days off work. It will nourish our spirit, too! This is just as important as nourishing our bodies, as studies have shown that we are more susceptible to illness when our spirits are low. The spirit also needs nourishing if we see a lot of clients, some of whom can be very draining.
What we should be eating is based on what I call the ‘Stone-Age diet’. We evolved to our current human state relatively recently (in evolutionary terms) when there was no technology and Homo sapiens lived as hunter-gatherers. There hasn’t been enough time for our bodies to adapt to our current lifestyles and diets, as this type of adaptation takes thousands of years. So ideally, our diet should be as close to what we imagine Stone Age Man’s diet was. He would eat whatever was in season: nuts, berries, fruit, mushrooms, occasionally meat or fish (organic of course!), leaves, roots, rarely milk (and never wheat, as they didn’t grow crops at all). We can also eat pulses and other cereals (e.g. millet, quinoa or rice).
Nutrition for Indian Head Massage Photo Gallery
Of course, we all know this kind of diet is very difficult (if not impossible) to follow in our type of civilisation. But it is worth referring back to for guidance as much as we can. To encourage good health we can also:
Drink fresh vegetable and fruit juices regularly. Organic foods should be used as much as possible, as otherwise we are giving ourselves more of the chemicals we need to get rid of!
Ensure we drink enough water, but not excessive amounts. If the diet is full of cellular matter like vegetables and fruits, there is quite a lot of water there already, so it should depend on what is eaten.
Eat enough fibre – vegetable fibre is better than cereal-based fibre, as our digestive tracts are not designed for this
Have ‘superfoods’ like spirulina or chlorella if and when we are going down with a cold or flu, or if our diet has been inadequate.’
In an ideal world, getting all the goodness we need from diet alone might be possible, but unfortunately, due to environmental pollution, chemicals and poor soil conditions this is not always the case. Adding good-quality nutritional supplements to the modern diet can help to counteract some of these effects. However, if you are pregnant, taking regular medication, or have any concerns about your health, you should consult your medical practitioner or a qualified nutritionist for advice rather than indiscriminately taking supplements that may not be right for you.
As well as a top-quality multivitamin/multimineral supplement, there are other supplements that can help to keep joints supple and flexible.
Essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are so called because they are essential for the structure of every cell membrane as well as maintenance of healthy joints, circulation and heart function. The body cannot make its own supply, so we need to get EFAs from food or supplements. EFAs fall into two groups: Omega 3, which is found in oily fish (e.g. tuna, mackerel, sardines, salmon) as well as linseeds and walnuts and Omega 6, found in nuts and seeds, such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Good-quality supplements of evening primrose and borage oil provide Omega 6 in a specially converted form known as gamma linoleic acid (GLA). Hemp seeds contain GLA and Omega 3.
These foods contain essential fatty acids
This substance is a major building block of the complex proteins that form part of the structure of cartilage. It plays a vital role in everyday mobility and smooth working of cartilage, tendons and ligaments and aids the production of synovial fluid around joints. Glucosamine sulphate is naturally made in the body, but it is thought that larger quantities are needed when joints are damaged. Studies indicate that a mixture of glucosamine and chondroitin is the most effective. Chondroitin is commonly found in dietary supplements. The most usual form, chondroitin sulphate, decreases the activity of enzymes that break down cartilage and attracts water to joints.
MSM is necessary for the structure of every cell in our bodies. It is a naturally occurring organic compound and one of the major building blocks of cartilage. It is present in small amounts in food and beverages. Cow’s milk is the most abundant source of MSM; other sources include coffee, tomatoes, tea, Swiss chard, corn and alfalfa. Supplements are also available.
Indian Head Massage Exercise
The ideal type of exercise is that which stretches muscles and increases stamina. Yoga and Pilates are both excellent. Yoga, which means ‘union’, is a philosophy and discipline applied to the development of mind, body, and spirit. Through the practice of a variety of body positions (asanas) and centring of mind and breath in a meditative way, the practitioner increases body awareness, Stretching exercises release tension, increase flexibility and calm the mind posture, flexibility and calmness of mind and spirit.
Pilates is a technique developed in the 1920s by the German-American Joseph H. Pilates. Its focus is on improving flexibility and strength for the overall body without building bulk. The strength training movements involve co-ordinated breathing techniques, awareness of the spine, core strength and flexibility. The outcome of Pilates training is improved posture and a balanced body that is strong and supple. As it involves concentration and coordination of breath and movement, Pilates helps to balance mind and body.
Reaping a fair reward
People who train as complementary therapists are usually those with a caring nature who enjoy nurturing others. In our teaching we come across many such caring people who sometimes have difficulty in charging for their treatments. However, if you decide to make your living in this way, it is important to earn enough to live comfortably. When deciding how much to charge for your services, bear in mind the time, money and effort put into learning your skills. Look at what others in your area are charging when deciding on your fees and remember it is more difficult to increase your fees than to reduce them, so don’t start too low! If your prices are too low, it may be assumed that you are not as skilled as someone who is charging more than you.
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