About Me

My goal as a Licensed Massage Therapist is to provide you with more than just relaxation and stress relief. I focus on helping relieve pain and muscle tightness by working to align your body back to its natural posture and help increase the body's full range of movement through various forms of soft tissue massage, deep tissue massage and energy work. I also am deeply committed to fully understanding your individual needs so we can work together toward a positive outcome. My clients often comment that they’ve never had a massage therapist spend so much time talking and asking questions prior to a massage, that its refreshing to know that I really do care and want to know exactly how they are feeling or how they actually injured themselves. No two people are alike, which is why no two massages I give are the same. I customize my work to create the best possible results for each of my clients.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Great Feed Back on Brain Wave Music and Massage

Two weeks in and what I believed would happen has, I have used the brain wave music during normal relaxation massage and the response has been exactly what I believed it would be.  Once the music chosen by the client begins, mind and body relaxation goes beyond the level most clients are used too.

Clients have commented that they have never felt more relaxed, that all the thoughts chaotically jumping around within their heads are quieted and they can finally just be calm.  One client described an almost out of body experience, that their mind was so relaxed and calm that their body and mind were almost two separate entities.  Not having to fight against your mind during a massage allows for a much deeper healing, and a much more holistic massage.

When was the last time you were able to completely clear your mind?
How about fully relax after a long day?
How about the last time you took care of your self instead of others?


We are all guilty of not doing enough for ourselves on a daily basis even though many of us spend most of our days helping others.  So I would like to offer a deal to all of you.


DEAL OF THE WEEK
Call now to schedule an appointment, and receive 15 MINUTES FREE.  Just mention mention this post when you call and you will enjoy an extra 15 minutes of massage for free.  Use it for to add on some energy work, or a nice scalp massage, or just extend the joy of a full body massage.  Anything you want, but this deal will expire on 8-30-2010, so call now.

Enjoy
Brian

Friday, August 6, 2010

Truly Holistic Massage Part 1


“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there”

- Will Rogers

Truly Holistic Massage

Part 1
Well, I am done sitting on this, reading about it, studying and learning it. It is time to begin my first big step into the future of massage therapy and Banyan Tree Healing. Thank you for joining me here and reading this, and I hope that by the end you will be able to see how this could really change your life. I know for a fact that it has changed mine, and I am excited to finally be able to bring this to you.

Again I ask you…

If I could help you achieve more relaxation, increase your creativity, and add more inspiration and energy and vitality. Would you want it?

How about a deeper self awareness or help with promoting long-term mental and emotional growth? Would you want that?

What I am offering you is a tool to help you find a way of organizing your own mind, a way of being in the present, in this moment, helping to end negative thought, stress and anxiety and all the things that we use daily to hold ourselves back. Or in short what I am offering is the use of a modern scientific development that has its roots back to the earliest times of our ancestors.

It’s called “Brain Wave Entrainment”.

To quote Dr Jeffrey Thompson D.C. of the "Center for Neuroacustic Research"

“Human beings have been using sound to access deeper states of consciousness, expand awareness and heal the body for thousands of years. Chanting, toning, Tibetan singing bowls, Chinese meditation gongs, and mantras, are just a few examples of this use of sound. Today, with highly sophisticated technological equipment, we can not only observe the functioning of the body and the brain in unprecedented detail, but also measure the changes that take place in the mind and body in different states of consciousness and different states of health. Research projects in major universities across the country have explored the neurophysiology of meditation, deep relaxation states and mind/body interactions during healing. In one study a simple meditation technique used for 20 minutes a day caused profound changes in blood pressure, stress handling ability, immune response and feelings of well being - never mind using any kind of high-tech approach which could bring consciousness to very deep levels of relaxation. Using this technology as a daily tool for mind/body integration and stress reduction can have many positive benefits.”

Brain wave entrainment is our ability to control our own brain waves and to place them in harmony. This creates a focused mind, and a focused mind is able to accomplish so much more. Our brains produce electrical charges. These charges create a rhythm known as brainwave patterns. Brainwave patterns are commonly grouped into four different categories: beta, alpha, theta and delta. Each of these brainwave patterns is associated with various states of mind.

The Main Brain Waves Patterns

Beta Waves
Beta waves are quick, low amplitude waves of 14 to 40 times per second (Hz). Beta brainwave patterns are generated naturally when in an awake, alert state of consciousness. Beta waves are produced when you perform any task that requires you to concentrate.

Alpha Waves
Alpha waves oscillate between 8 and 13 Hz. Alpha waves occur during sensorial rest (e.g. when the eyes are closed), intellectual relaxation, deep relaxation, meditation or quieting of the mind. Alpha waves are the desired results of meditators. Traditional methods of meditation may require 10 years of practice to produce good alpha waves.

Alpha brainwave rhythms produce:

(1) Peaceful feelings
(2) Warm hands and feet
(3) A sense of well-being
(4) Improved sleep
(5) Improved academic performance
(6) Increased productivity in the workplace
(7) Reduced anxiety
(8) improved immune functioning

It is believed that many creative geniuses, such as Einstein, were in a semi-permanent alpha state. Most of these insightful people had poor grades in school and were thought to be slow learners. Perhaps they were too busy creating to pay attention in class.

Alpha/Theta Border
These brain waves are the Schumann Resonance and the State Five Meditation. At the Alpha/Theta border (7 to 8 Hz), exceptional insights and personal transforming experiences happen. Anger, resentment or buried, troubling memories from childhood dissolve more quickly.

Theta Waves
Theta waves are between 4 and 8 Hz. This is commonly referred to as the dream or “twilight” state. Theta is associated with REM states and dreaming. Memory development is enhanced in this state. In the theta brainwave state, memory is improved (particularly long term memory), and access to unconscious material, reveries, free association, sudden insight and creative ideas are increased. It’s a mysterious, elusive state of mind. For a long time researchers couldn’t study this brain state because subjects had difficulty maintaining this state for any period of time without falling asleep (which generates large amounts of theta).

Delta Waves
This rhythm is observed when in a sleeping state. As we fall asleep the dominant natural brainwave becomes delta. Delta waves are the slowest of brainwaves spanning from 1 to 4 Hz in frequency. There is growing evidence that individuals may maintain a slightly conscious state while in delta.

All brainwave states serve important mental functions. However, research has shown that the natural, healthy alpha rhythm is very close to 10 Hz. In today’s lifestyle, the return to a peaceful, mind/body way of being has become difficult to achieve and maintain for any period of time. This difficulty causes disease, maladies and disorders in the body and mind.

How All of This Works With Massage

During massage, we are generally within the alpha brain wave state. A relaxed, eyes closed state of brain wave activity. This though does not happen the minute you hit the table. As you prepare for your massage you are still thinking about daily stresses we all live with. Bills to pay, rush hour, work, an argument. All of these things need to be set aside before your mind can truly reach alpha state, and this is not always easy.

Yet with Brain wave music, it is possible that all you would need to do is listen to music that is designed to create a specific brain wave pattern and within moments your brain could begin to reorganize and become much more efficient. With this new found focus you could be able to handle your daily stresses much more easily and efficiently.

Examples;

Beta
Let’s say you have a test coming up. You have been studying non-stop for weeks, you have been stressed and wish you could just relax. Well now, you would be able to receive a relaxing massage, or energy treatment while using the beta brain wave music, which is designed to help your mind  be more alert and focused. It is like a refresher that allows you to keep going helping you to again concentrate and refocus your energies on studying for the test.

Alpha
What if you just wanted to release the anxieties you have been carrying for weeks. What if you just wanted to relax? Why not try some alpha brain wave music. You can spend your “entire” massage, not just pieces of it, in a full deep meditative healing minds state. Not only will the massage help you heal and feel better, but alpha brain waves are designed to help you with this healing process.

Alpha/Theta
The alpha/theta state has one of the most fascinating facts I have ever learned. Alpha/theta as stated above is deep meditation, relaxation and helps with personal transformation. In many meditative practices the goal is to be able to root you to the earth and release many of your negative energies. What I found out during my studies is that while our alpha/theta brainwaves can fluctuate between 7 Hz and 8 Hz, the average Hz for planet earth is 7.83 Hz. What this means is we truly are able to attune our brain waves to the frequency of the earth. Something I have felt for years, but have never known the science behind it. Think of what could be accomplished with this ability.

Theta
What if you wanted to do some deep soul searching? Figure out a problem that has bothering you or even increase the creative part of your mind. Many of my clients use the massage table as a method of meditation on whatever they wish to work on. Now you have the opportunity to increase your ability to enter a truly deep meditative mind state. To use that subconscious part of us that wishes to speak but in our world tends not to be heard. This can help you reach the deeper parts of your own spirit, where deeper healing can be done.

Delta
Have you ever had problems with sleep? Have you ever tossed and turned in bed trying to quiet your mind so that it will just slow down, and allow you to sleep? Have you ever not slept for days? Imagine being able to set up a massage before bed. Then with the help of delta brain wave music cd's, which are designed to change the brain waves of your mind to a delta pattern. You could possibly not only relax the body enough for sleep but also change the mind to a delta state.  The same pattern your mind would be in if you were actually asleep.  There is nothing quite like a relaxed body, a quiet mind and a nice soft bed.

What I am offering you is a chance not only to get a great full body massage but also a brain massage. To begin a change in your life that has the ability to help with ALL aspects of your life, not just the physical. I am offering a method of relaxation that truly does bring in the physical, the mental and the spiritual. So thank you for reading this and remember this is only scratching the surface of what can be accomplished with brain wave entrainment. What I have written is a very broad view of this topic. I will be posting later, a more scientific document that will focus on the history of brain wave entrainment and research that has been conducted since the early 1900’s. Like I said brain wave entrainment is not new, adding brain wave entrainment to massage is just another way to use its special abilities to help you heal in a truly holistic way.

Thank you so very much, and please let me know what you think of this. Part of my job is to listen, and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you
Brian Hicks
Licensed Massage Therapist
Banyan Tree Healing

The information contained in this post is a combination of my own experiences with the use of brain wave entrainment music and devices along with information from sites listed below.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-symptoms/SR00008_D
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasympathetic_nervous_system
http://www.transparentcorp.com/products/np/history.php
http://www.hemi-sync.com/
http://www.neuroacoustic.com/index.html
http://www.mindpowernews.com/RetrainYourBrain.htm
http://www.myanxietycure.com/light-therapy-products-machines-and-equipment-reviews.html


Thursday, August 5, 2010

ONE!!!!.......

"This is where it matters the most. This is where lives are made, in these moments when you can choose whether or not to say "I can't" or "I can." It is a choice that will either make or break you for life."
 Jillian Michaels


I have posted this quote not only for you but also for myself.  We are all stuck in life and sometimes it is easier to sit back and say "I can't".  Moving forward and telling yourself "I can" is almost always harder.  Yet we have the strength inside of us to accomplish anything.  I often times forget how strong I am.

Tomorrow I take another step forward saying "I can"

What will you be saying about your own struggles tomorrow?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

TWO......

If I could help you achieve more relaxation, more creativity, have more inspiration and energy and vitality. 

Would you want it?

How about a deeper self awareness or help with promoting long-term mental and emotional growth? 

Would you want that? 

Stay tuned, only two days away.

Three...

Another day closer to a life changing event...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Let the count down commence!! FOUR...

So it begins.... each day, another day closer to the big announcement for Banyan Tree Healing.  Another day closer to really showing people where massage therapy will go in the future.  I am beyond excited, for this will change how people view massage.  This will change why people go for massage.  No longer will it only be for relaxation, or pain relief.  No longer will massage be found mostly in spa style settings.  I truly believe this will allow massage to enter a realm few people believed it could.  So join me on this ride.  Join me in the path to the future of massage. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How Does Massage Work?

Massage causes physiological changes in your body through:

-The relaxation response, which is an involuntary, yet predictable response of the nervous system to massage techniques and touch

-Mechanical responses, which are physical effects that occur in the body when pressure is applied to the soft tissues

Together, these responses can produce physical and emotional benefits.

What is the relaxation response?

In a massage, a caring, safe touch is an invitation to relax. This, together with pain relief, generally produces a "relaxation response."

The relaxation response is a state in which your heart and breathing rate slow, your blood pressure goes down, your production of stress hormones decreases, and your muscles relax. The relaxation response also seems to increase the available level of serotonin, which is a chemical in the body that positively affects emotions and thoughts.

The relaxation response may decrease the physical effects of stress and reduce the risks associated with stress, such as hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, anxiety, insomnia, persistent fatigue, sexual dysfunction, digestive disorders, and psychological issues-to name a few.

What are mechanical responses?

The physical manipulation in massage has two major physical effects:

-Increase in blood and lymph circulation

-Relaxation and normalization of the soft tissue (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, liaments), which releases nerves and deeper connective tissues

Improving Circulation

Massage is believed to improve blood and lymph circulation. This is probably due partly to the physical manipulation of soft tissue and partly to the chemicals released as part of the relaxation response.

Improved circulation can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells. As cellular health improves, tissues function more efficiently. More efficient functioning leads to the removal of waste products and may increase the absorption of excess fluids and reduce swelling in soft tissues.

Relaxing Tissue

Massage therapy relaxes muscle tissue, which reduces painful contractions and spasms. Massage can also reduce nerve compression. To understand this, consider that when muscles are contracted, they sometimes compress the nerves around them. When these muscles are relaxed, the nerves are no longer compressed, and, in theory, can get proper nutrients and operate more efficiently. The nerves can assume their normal work of transmitting messages to and from the brain, which improves functioning of the muscles and organs.

Touching the skin or applying pressure relaxes muscles, tendons, and ligaments. In addition, while some of the deeper tissues of the body, such as deep spinal musculature, cannot be easily accessed by a massage therapist, the release of more superficial layers of muscles may also affect these deeper layers. This can lead to both superficial and deep tissues finding a better alignment and balance.

Organs can also benefit from massage, as they share neurological pain pathways with muscles, bones, and nerves. When muscles, bones, or nerves are distressed, organs can sometimes reflect distress and dysfunction. For example, low back pain can intensify menstrual cramps and menstrual cramps can cause low back muscles to tense. Massage can therefore improve the functioning of both the organ and the muscles.

References

Photo credit of American Massage Therapy Association.

Fritz, Sandra. (2004). Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc.

Yates, John. (2004). A Physician's Guide to Therapeutic Massage, Third Edition. Ontario, Canada: Curties-Overzet Publications, Inc.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Massage Therapy, more than pampering...

Words like “relaxation” and “pampering” are often used to describe a person’s idea of a good massage. In fact, 26 percent of the 39 million Americans who got a massage last year say it’s for relaxation or stress reduction, according to a recent survey commissioned by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Only 11 percent say it was to pamper themselves. Although relaxation plays an important role in one’s overall health and wellness, another 30 percent of those surveyed say they get massage therapy for medical/health reasons specifically.
Massage therapy has been shown to address serious health issues by relieving symptoms associated with a variety of conditions. Here’s a look at just some of the ways in which massage therapy can be effective.

Relieve Back Pain
More than 100 million Americans suffer from lower-back pain, and nearly $25 billion a year is spent in search of relief. A 2003 study showed that massage therapy produced better results and reduced the need for painkillers by 36 percent when compared to other therapies, including acupuncture and spinal modification. Today, massage therapy is one of the most common ways people ease back pain.Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, June 3, 2003

Treat Migraines

Of the 45 million Americans who suffer from chronic headaches, more than 60 percent suffer from migraines. For many, it’s a distressing disorder that is triggered by stress and poor sleep. In a recent study, massage therapy recipients exhibited fewer migraines and better sleep quality during the weeks they received massage, and the three weeks following, than did participants that did not receive massage therapy. Another study found that in adults with migraine headaches massage therapy decreased the occurrence of headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms. It also increased serotonin levels, believed to play an important role in the regulation of mood, sleep and appetite.Sources: Annals of Behavioral Medicine, August 2006; International Journal of Neuroscience, 1998.

Ease Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressively painful condition that causes numbness and tingling in the thumb and middle fingers. Traditional treatments for carpal tunnel range from a wrist brace to surgery. However, a 2004 study found that carpal tunnel patients receiving massage reported significantly less pain, reduced symptoms and improved grip strength than those patients who did not receive massage.Source: Touch Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 8, 9-14.

Reduce Anxiety
An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from depression. A review of more than a dozen massage studies concluded that massage therapy helps relieve depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry. In the studies reviewed, researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage and found that the therapy lowered levels by up to 53 percent. Massage also increased serotonin and dopamine, and neurotransmitters that help reduce depression.Source: Touch Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine.

Alleviate Side Effects of Cancer
Massage therapy is increasingly being applied to symptoms experienced by cancer patients, such as nausea, pain and fatigue. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center asked patients to report the severity of their symptoms before and after receiving massage therapy. Patients reported reduced levels of anxiety, pain, fatigue, depression and nausea, even up to two days later.Source: Journal of Pain & Symptom Management, September 2004.
In a study of breast cancer patients, researchers found that those who were massaged three times a week reported lower levels of depression, anxiety and anger, while increasing “natural killer” cells and lymphocytes that help to battle cancerous tumors.Source: Touch Research Institutes, University of Miami School of Medicine, Journal of PsychosomaticResearch, Volume 57, Issue 1, Pages 45-52, July 2004.

Lower Blood Pressure
Hypertension, if left unchecked, can lead to organ damage. Preliminary research shows that hypertensive patients who received three 10-minute back massages a week had a reduction in blood pressure, compared to patients who simply relaxed without a massage.Source: Biological Research For Nursing, Vol. 7, No. 2, 98-105 (2005).

Friday, June 4, 2010

My first post... and a simple thank you.

A simple thanks to friends, family and one VERY special person.

Well, it’s been a long road, but I have enjoyed every single minute that I have been on this path towards becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist. I want to thank all of the people who were with me the whole way, but at this time I would like to thank one person specifically, my wife. She was the rock I held on to when the waters got rough. She was the one who was there when I went to school all day, worked all night and still had to study for the multiple tests we had every week. I would also like to thank the practice people, and you know who you are. Without friends and family, school would not have gone as smoothly as it did, so again thank you.Banyan Tree Healing, the path continues.

The dreams I have for this massage business are big and within the next few years I hope to hear people saying I remember when Banyan Tree Healing was just Brian. Yet do not think that the quality of the massage or the personal time spent with each of you will change. I believe both quality and personal attention must exist for any business to survive and grow. I offer FULL hour massages, not 50 minutes like many places. I leave a half hour between each client to allow time to discuss in depth how you feel before the massage and after. This should be your time and in no way should you ever feel rushed.

What’s next?

In the near future I will be offering many new perks for you as I grow and expand. I will be offering many new and interesting changes that I will use this site and newsletters to inform you of. I have too many ideas to list, but I hope to be able to offer you a total package for all of your health needs. A holistic approach to your own heath concerns all in one location.

So please keep in touch, and remember, massage is so much more than just a nice stress reliever. Massage is preventative medicine. My goal is to help you attain your health goals, and then to also help keep you at your peak.