Mon-Fri 8 to 4:30 (By Appointment)
Call: (218) 235-1732

Blissful Body Blog

By Stephanie Bish

The Lymphatic System and Your Health

Though many people are unfamiliar with the lymphatic system, it is an essential part of your health and well-being.  The Lymphatic system is part of your circulatory system, working to move the clear fluid called ‘lymph’ through a network of lymph vessels toward the heart, carrying toxins as it goes.  It also plays an important role in your immune system, protecting you from illness-causing viruses and bacteria.


Eliminating Toxins

Each cell in your body operates as an independent ‘being’.  Each cell eats, digests, and eliminates toxins.  These toxins mostly reside in clear fluid between the cells, called ‘interstitial fluid’.  This fluid holds the toxins eliminated from your cells, and carries it away through the lymph vessels to the heart. There it enters the blood stream and is processed through the liver and kidneys.  The liver and kidneys filter out the toxins, which are then released through urine and feces. 

When you experience edema, or swelling in your tissues, it is often caused by a back-up in the lymphatic system.  This back-up can make you feel heavy, toxic, and achy.  Headaches and chronic pain are often related to the lymphatic system being sluggish.  

Many things can cause edema, including surgery, food sensitivities, eating too much salt in your diet, stress, and emotions.  The lymphatic system is part of your circulatory system, but it does not have a pump of its own like the heart which moves blood.  Instead it relies on gravity and the effects of exercise to move the fluid. 

This is one reason why exercise is proven to be helpful in so many research studies for such a variety of symptoms.  Exercise helps moves the lymph fluid and toxins out of your body.  When you have edema in a limb, elevate it above your heart, so that gravity can help move the lymph toward your heart.


Protecting You from Infections

Lymphatic organs, such as lymph nodes and tonsils, are found throughout the body.  Structures dedicated to the circulation and production of lymphocytes, which work to fight off infections, include the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and lymph tissue within the digestive system. 

When your body is attacked by a virus or bacteria, the lymphatic system is like a SWAT team, moving quickly and efficiently.  It deploys lymphocytes which attack and destroy the offenders.  Any toxic remains are cleaned up in the lymph nodes and the waste is carried on with the rest of the lymph to the heart and into the blood to be cleaned. 

Any strain on your lymph system, like overeating (especially salty foods), lack of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle, certain drugs, stress or negative emotions can weaken your immune system, making you vulnerable to illness.


Prevention and Self-care

  •  The very most helpful thing you can do to maintain a healthy lymphatic system is to move.  Exercise is the best way to keep the lymph moving, resulting in a cleaner, healthier body.  Make exercise part of your daily routine.  As little as 20 minutes of walking a day can make a real difference.  Little things add up: walk instead of using the car when possible; choose to park at the far end of the parking lot; meet a friend every day for a chat and walk; take a dog for a spin around the block; play with a child. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids, mainly clean water.
  •  Eat spring greens, natural cleansers.
  • Refrain from overeating, especially salty foods and foods that you are sensitive to (dairy and gluten are two common culprits).
  • Reduce stress in your life. 
  • Find a healthy outlet for your emotions.
  • Belly laugh frequently, the movement supports strong lymphatic system movement.
  • Lymph Drainage Massage works to move as much as 20 times the normal lymph, helping edema clear and relieving the symptoms of a sluggish lymphatic system. Light, rhythmic, and deeply relaxing, Lymph Drainage Massage is helpful in recovering from post-surgery edema, recovering from illness or depression, or as part of a seasonal cleansing.

Spring is an especially important time to pay attention to your lymphatic system.  Much like our Mother Earth, we are a bit sluggish and need a good cleansing after the long winter.  Getting the lymph moving and the toxins cleared helps all your organs function at a higher level, leading to better over-all health.  As always, prevention is much more effective than treatment, so take action today to create a healthy lymphatic system, and a healthier you.

About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie’ in Ely, MN; also serving the Arrowhead Region.   Stephanie offers many types of massage and bodywork, including posture alignment, energy balancing, and Lymphatic Drainage Massage.  You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment.

If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 

Continue reading
7761 Hits

What will you feel like in 20 years?

Are you facing some aches and pains, injuries, or illness that has you pondering the above question?  Do you look back on past years and fear you will not feel that well again?  Have you run the gamut of doctors and found yourself with pain or limitations?

Life can deal us some hard hands to take.  There are more and more 'dis-eases' defined now than ever.  It seems everywhere you look, people are dealing with illness and injury.  

A person can get down looking ahead and thinking-'if I feel like this now, how will I feel in 20 years?'  The truth is, if you get to work on it, it is very likely that you will feel better than you do now, in 20 years from now.

Of course, if you were reading this before your troubles began, you would have the advantage of possibly preventing some of the issues you have now.  OK, we can't go back in time.  We can't undo the poor decisions we made back when.  But, you know what, we can start today to create the health we will have 20 years from now.

Really, the basics of good health will support you, help you avoid most illnesses, and turn your health around.  It will take time.  It will take effort.  It will be an investment.  It will not fit the current lifestyle of the average American.  But you do have the power in your own mind to make choices on a daily basis that will lead you to better health.

And guess what, being sick, injured, limited, and tired, etc... takes time.  It takes effort.  It is expensive.  That 20 years will go by whether you are taking care of yourself or not.  And believe me, you will reap the rewards of what you spend your time, effort, and money on in those 20 years, whichever way you go.

Decide today to make great choices for yourself.  You know what they are!  

  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.  When you load your plate for a meal, make half the plate veggies, 1/4 healthy meat, and 1/4 healthy carbs.  I won't go into detail on what makes a healthy meal- there are wonderful books and websites out there to teach you that.  Read a few, choose one that you like, and get started.  If you have a smart phone, you can even track your progress with an app.
  • Move!  Activity has been found to help heal and prevent nearly all illnesses!!  That's amazing!  Getting fit will change your life.  Look for something that will be fun.  You probably need a list of options, so you don't get bored.  Find a buddy, it's easier to get moving if you know you have to be accountable.
  • Sleep soundly.  Take a look at your routine, and arrange your life so you get a good night's sleep.
  • Play!
  • Develop your passions.  Whether at work, play, or hobbies, have something in your life that really gets you excited.  Don't know what that is?  Observe what you love to do, what you would do without pay, what you can't stop talking about.  Ask friends and family what lights up your eyes, a dead give-away.
  • Set up a plan for self-care.  Everyone needs preventive care.  Get regular massage, take supplements, see your health practitioner on a regular basis.  Massage on a regular basis has so many benefits!  Take a look around my website to read up on some.
  • Be conscious!  Think about your situation, be honest, and be willing to be responsible for your own health and well-being.  No one else will!
I'd love to be part of your wellness team.  Give me a call, and let's form a preventive plan for you.  Now is a perfect time to start.  

About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region.   As a Massage Therapist,  Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.

 You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment. 

 If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 

Continue reading
6947 Hits

Athletic Performance: How Massage and Bodywork can Help

Massage and bodywork is a great way to increase your athletic performance.  Along with stretching, it can work to open the muscle and connective tissue so that you move more freely and have better range of motion.  It creates more body awareness so that you know where your weaknesses are and learn to listen to your body.  And massage and bodywork can help your body recover more quickly after an event or injury.

Massage works in the muscle and fascia to release tension, and break up scar tissue and knots. Regular massage especially becomes valuable, as the everyday wear and tear of working out is dealt with as it comes up, before it becomes lodged in your tissue.  

Regular massage also creates a more intimate relationship with your own body.  You may not think of having a relationship with your body, but your body is trying to communicate with you, and you will benefit from learning to listen to it.   If you can find out about a possible weak area in your body and change your workout to support a healing period, you may avoid a serious injury and setback in your performance.

As I massage your body, you will feel areas that are more sensitive.  Those areas are often not noticeable on a daily basis, until they become inflamed and possibly cause a slow-down in your workout or event plans.  If caught early, you can adjust your workout, your body mechanics, or your stretching to head off the problem before it becomes unmanageable. 

Ideally, connective tissue is shiny and smooth, making it easy for two surfaces to slide effortlessly against each other as you move.  However, your body is constantly creating extra fibers which can create a 'sticky' surface that doesn't slide smoothly.  Massage and bodywork, along with stretching, break that extra film up and keeps you moving freely.  

Massage and bodywork creates more blood-flow, which brings oxygen-rich blood to the area, and aids in recovery.  Other benefits, such as mental and emotional, are common for athletes receiving regular massage.  There is value in quieting the mind and relaxing.

Bodywork such as Connective Tissue Massage and Structural Integration can help athletes achieve better body alignment so that they can perform more efficiently.  As the body is aligned, and strain is taken out, the joints will operate properly, with less twist.  This will avoid short and long term wear and tear on the joints, reducing injuries and leading to better performance and more longevity in your chosen sport.

Let me know if you would like to discuss adding massage or bodywork to your athletic self-care program.  We can work together to form a treatment protocol to fit your needs.

About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region.   As a Massage Therapist,  Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.

 You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment. 

 If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 

Continue reading
6690 Hits

Burnout Syndrome

Burnout is a common problem in our hectic world.  It can leave you feeling tired, depressed, and like you don't remember your purpose.  Once in a deep burnout, it can be hard to reverse the trend.  

As with most conditions, it is much easier to avoid burnout than to reverse the trend.  Paying close attention to your self-care regime is paramount to staying out of burnout.  Burnout results from not taking the time to care for yourself, often while taking care of others.  

Self-care that helps prevent burnout includes:

  • Take some time to get clear about what has meaning to you in your life.  Then arrange your life around those priorities.
  • Make sure you are getting enough rest, moderate exercise, and a healthy diet.
  • Take time every week for recreation (that's 'fun' in case it has been so long that you don't remember!!)
  • Are you spread too thin?  Can you let something go?  Can you cut back on something?  Can you ask others to pitch in?
  • Take a really honest look at the stresses in your life.  Where is the pressure coming from?  Which of these sources can you let go of, rearrange, or delegate?
  • How long has it been since you've had a real vacation?  
  • Schedule occasional little retreats for yourself.  Do you feel rejuvenated by a hike in the woods, a day to read a good book, dinner at a fine restaurant, a night in a bed and breakfast, a massage?
Once you are feeling burned-out, you may appreciate a Reiki treatment.  Reiki is a very relaxing Japanese technique.  You lay on a comfortable table, with your clothes on, with a blanket and soothing music playing.  The Reiki practitioner lays hands on areas of your body, like the head, eyes, ears and chest, or holds them near your body.  
You may feel yourself drifting off to 'lala land', or theta waves, which is a condition of complete relaxation, without falling asleep.   Stress slips away.  You feel loved, safe, clear, and well.
A recent study showed that Reiki had a positive effect on heart rate and body temperature, demonstrating an effect on the parasympathetic nervous system.  Simply put, it reduces stress and sets up an environment for healing.
A very successful way to receive Reiki is to get three sessions in three days.  This frequency creates a real shift, allowing you move into new patterns of thought, letting old habits go, and embracing healthy activities and ideas.  It puts you more in touch with that part of yourself that knows and is at ease.
We really do need to take as good care of ourselves as our loved ones, our work responsibilities, and our many other obligations.  In fact, if we aren't taking care of ourselves, we are not going to be healthy enough to take care of others.  Make the commitment to take care of yourself and avoid burnout.  If you are already in burnout, schedule a Reiki session today, and see how it benefits you.
 

About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region.   As a Massage Therapist,  Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.

 You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment. 

 If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 

 

Continue reading
7255 Hits

Numbness and Tingling in the Arms and Hands

In my massage and bodywork practice, I see a lot of people who have some numbness and/or tingling in their hands and arms.  Sometimes it has been an issue for some time, and can cause problems both during the day, and at night when trying to sleep.

Carpenters, dog sledders, desk jockeys, musical instrument players, bicyclists, and gardeners can have this problem, to name a few. Generally, the problem is worse in people who rely on the use of their hands and arms for their living.   

Though the term 'carpal tunnel' is commonly used for this kind of issue, the real culprit can be more complex.  Carpal tunnel is a condition where tendons that pass through the retinaculum of the wrist become inflamed and painful.  The inflammation causes the nerves to be pinched within the retinaculum, leading to numbness and tingling in the hands.

Though this can be the cause of the problem, it can also be caused either completely or in combination with other areas of nerve impingement along the path from the spinal cord at the neck, through the arm, to the hand.  

The first area is where the nerve leaves the cervical, or neck vertebrae.  Next is an area at the base of the neck where muscles that are strained and knotted can impinge the nerve.  Third is an area near the elbow.  Fourth is the carpal tunnel area of the wrist.

From a massage and bodywork perspective, the goal is to relieve tension and knots in the tissue that is involved in the impingement.  Sometimes relief is found in one session, but often it takes a series of sessions to create lasting change.  

In fact, the structural integration 10-series is a great way to address tension like this.  By systematically working to relieve tension and create balance in the whole body, many symptoms can be relieved, including numbness or tingling in the arms or hands.  

Along with relieving the tension in the neck, arms, and hands, it is helpful to take a thoughtful look at the person's body mechanics and work habits.   Also, certain exercises can help to keep the tissue open.  

If you have numbness or tingling of the hands or arms, I would be happy to work with you to help relieve the tension in your neck, arms, and hands.  You can call to set up a preliminary session to see if you like working with me, and if you like the results of the work I do.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

 

About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region.   As a Massage Therapist,  Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.

 You can check out her website at www.elymassage.com.  Call 218-235-1732, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set an appointment. 

 If you would like to use this article in your publication, you may if you use it in its entirety, including the author information.

 
Continue reading
11376 Hits