Allergies anyone?!

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Today was a particularly rough day for me and my constant companions, ALLERGIES.   I often joke that I have sensitive skin EVERYWHERE, but it is far from a joke. The surface of my outer skin has proved itself to be incredibly sensitive  to chemicals, making everything from lotions, shampoos, deodorants and soaps to laundry detergents, clothing, and sunscreens, a treacherous experience. The surfaces on the insides of my body, today most particularly my entire respiratory systems surfaces, are just as sensitive with often more frightening reactions.  It amazes me, every single time, how swiftly my body can move from detecting a smell or sensation, to swelling, itching, wheezing and struggling to breathe.

The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (www.aafa.org) gives information and statistics on allergies in the US:

  • Allergy is characterized by an overreaction of the human immune system to a foreign protein substance (“allergen”) that is eaten, breathed into the lungs, injected or touched. This immune overreaction can results in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. In severe cases it can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, and even death.
  • Allergy is the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. among all ages, and the 3rd most common chronic disease among children under 18 years old
  •  An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies (1 in 5 Americans) including indoor/outdoor, food & drug, latex, insect, skin and eye allergies. Allergy prevalence overall has been increasing since the early 1980s across all age, sex and racial groups.

AAFA_AsthmaAndAllergies_BarGraph_final-Smallfrom http://www.aafa.org

Wow, that is a lot of people struggling with these same allergy issues!  In many life situations, I find that I feel alone, surrounded by people that have no understanding of what I am going through in my body. I want you to know that I understand. Let me repeat myself. I UNDERSTAND.

That is why in my Massage practice, I strive to be as ALLERGEN FREE as I can and will make whatever additional changes that need to be made to provide you with a safe and relaxing space for your bodywork. I personally use almost entirely scent free body products on myself, so I will NOT be carrying fragrance allergens. The lotion that I use for massage is unscented, hypoallergenic and USDA Certified Organic. I also do what I can to keep the space I work in as clean and scent free as possible. If you have specific allergy issues and needs please contact me prior to your session so that we can work together to create a trigger free massage experience for you.

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Benefits of Massage for those living with Chronic or Terminal Illnesses

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by Dawn Welburn LMT

Many people are still under the misconception that massage is a luxury with purely superficial benefits. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Massage therapy has many health benefits on a mental and physical level. These  can be especially beneficial for those living with chronic or terminal illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, Cancer, PTSD, Depression, and many others.

An immediate benefit of massage can be a feeling of relaxation. Massage facilitates the release of endorphins and help reduce the levels of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol, creating a feeling of well-being. Stress is known to impair immune system function, so stress reduction is very beneficial for those with immune system related illnesses such as HIV/AIDS.  Working the soft tissues of the body can also greatly reduce pain levels, important for those living with all chronic or terminal illnesses.  Many of these illnesses also have stigmas and trust issues for the persons living with them. Massage provides a safe environment for receiving compassionate and meaningful touch in a therapeutic and healing way from a trusted health professional.

Those living with chronic or terminal illnesses face increased challenges and obstacles in the search for comfort and relief from their constant mental and physical pain. Massage can greatly improve the quality of life for these individuals and everyone who receives it.  Consult your healthcare provider to find out if massage is recommended  for your specific illness. Be sure to share your medical history with your Massage Therapist so that s/he can provide the best services and environment for you.

Dawn Welburn is a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist who specializes  in services for everyone, with a focus on people living with mental illnesses, chronic pain, terminal illnesses, domestic violence, and chemical dependencies.  All massage therapy sessions are individually designed around the needs, goals and concerns of each client. Some of the services that may be integrated into a therapeutic massage session are: deep tissue massage, medical massage, chakra clearing, Swedish massage, stretching, focused breathing, aromatherapy, relaxation massage, acupressure, and reflexology.