Time for a massage? Five reasons to get one now!


So...I don't think it's going to take much arm-twisting to get you to have more massages...is it?


I mean, how good is it to indulge in an hour long relaxation massage with a skilled therapist? Think ambient music, essential oils, your muscles slowly uncoiling under your therapist's professional touch, soooo good!


Perhaps you're the kind of person who needs proof of the benefits before trying? Or, perhaps you've always been curious about massage but not game to get one for yourself? Well I'm here to tell you it is well worth getting a regular relaxation massage - take some time out and your body will truly thank you for it.


Here are 5 proven benefits of Swedish relaxation massage:


  • It can decrease arginine-vasopressin, a hormone which is involved in blood pressure regulation and water retention (Rapaport, et al, 2010) and normally increases with stress and aggressive behaviour (Peterson, 2012).

  • It can reduce depression and anxiety (Moyer, et al., 2004).

  • It can ease back pain and increases range of motion (Hernandez-Reif, et al.,  2001).

  • It can promote sleep and enhance the quality of your sleep (Gauthier, 1999).

  • It can improve tension headaches and reduce the number of migraines that occur in sufferers (WebMD 2016).


BONUS BENEFIT: Been a bit grumpy lately? A good time-out by way of a relaxation massage is sure to leave you in a good mood, and you can expect a knock-on effect in your immediate relationships. In short, you get a relaxing massage, and your partner and kids will be better off too!



So what happens?


If you've never had a massage before, I know it can be a bit daunting. You may feel vulnerable taking your clothes off, or having a stranger's hands touch you - a perfectly normal concern.

In actual fact, you don't have to take anything off if you don't want to. You can have a massage fully clothed, without the use of oils, of course. You can even ask for a seated massage, so you can feel more in control of your surroundings.


Remember, it is important you are comfortable with how much skin you are exposing, and there is no point in getting a relaxation massage if you can't relax!


So make sure you have a conversation with the therapist about your boundaries if you are feeling concerned.


Also, seek a qualified and professional therapist.


Check out their credentials and make sure they are a member of a reputable industry association. Those with appropriate credentials and industry association can generally be considered more likely to follow professional guidelines and standards, meaning you can really allow yourself to relax under their therapeutic touch.

This is not to say that:

a) someone who has professional qualifications and is a member of an industry association will not behave unprofessionally, or

b) someone who doesn't have this accreditation will automatically behave unprofessionally,

but following up on their professional standards is a way of feeling more relaxed about their professional standing, and your personal health and safety.



What happens in most appointments:


* remember this can vary from therapist to therapist, so this is a basic rundown only*

  • Before the appointment, it is a good idea to avoid eating or drinking too much directly before the appointment, but make sure you are well hydrated throughout the day before your massage.
  • Arrive early and complete a health history form.
  • If you are taking medications or have a medical condition, you should check with your doctor before you get a massage, and make sure you put all relevant information on your health history form. The therapist should study the form and discuss your health history with you. It may be necessary to alter or postpone the treatment if there is something in your chart which contraindicates massage.
  • The therapist will seek your permission to provide the massage and show you the treatment room. You will be asked to undress and lay face-down on the treatment table, under a towel. Make sure you discuss with your therapist your level of comfort with undressing. The therapist will leave the room while you prepare yourself on the table.
  • The therapist will knock and enter when you are ready.
  • Your therapist will begin palpating your body, usually through the towel. That means they are gently pressing on the larger muscle masses of the legs, back and buttocks to get a sense of tension and muscle tone. You can begin to take some deeper breaths here and settle yourself into the massage.
  • Following this, your therapist will un-drape the towel from one part of your body, one leg, or your back for example. They will warm oil in their hands and gently glide their hands over your muscles. As your muscles slowly warm, you will begin to feel greater relaxation and calm.
  • Once your therapist has completed your back and legs, you will be asked to turn over, and he or she will focus on the legs, chest, arms, neck and head. Some therapists also massage the stomach. Remember, if you are uncomfortable with any part of your body being touched, you can let the therapist know at any time.
  • Upon completion of the massage, you will feel very relaxed so make sure you get up slowly. Take a moment sitting on the edge of the massage table before hopping down and getting dressed. You don't want to feel dizzy or woozy. Let the therapist know if you are feeling faint or light headed.
  • Once you are dressed you head outside and make your payment. Take it slow, bask in the glowing warmth of relaxation, and make sure you drink plenty of water.


My advice? After your massage, head home, give your loved ones a hug, and settle in with a good book for an early night.


If you have any questions feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.




Disclaimer: Please see your doctor before engaging in any therapeutic body work, especially if you are currently suffering from a medical condition or taking medication. Certain physiological changes during massage can impact your health and safety, and massage is contraindicated for certain conditions. See your GP if you are unsure.




Gauthier, D., 1999, 'The healing potential of back massage', Online Journal of Knowledge Synthesis in Nursing, Vol. 6 (5).

Hernandez-Reif, M., Krasnegor, J., & Theakston, H., 2001, 'Lower back pain is reduced and range of motion increased after massage therapy', International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 106, p.p.131-145.

'Massage therapy styles and benefits', 2016, Web MD, 2016, Accessed 10 March 2016, <http://www.webmd.com/balance/massage-therapy-styles-and-health-benefits>.

Moyer, C., Rounds, J., & Hannum, J., 2004, 'A meta-analysis of massage therapy research', Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 130 (1), p.p.3-18.

Peterson, A., 2012, 'Don't call it pampering: Massage wants to be medicine', The Wall Street Journal, 13 March 2012, accessed 09 March 2016, <http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304537904577277303049173934>.

Rapaport, M. H., Schettler, C., & Breese, C., 2010, 'A preliminary study of the effects of a single session of Swedish massage on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and immune function in normal individuals', Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol 16 (10), p.p. 1079-1088.




Yummo Zucchini and Sweet Potato Bread

Hey y'all,

This year, I have resolved to update my blog more often, and include an array of lifestyle and wellness posts, some yummy recipes, some yoga tidbits, some coaching and lifestyle posts, some rants and raves about health now and then! A whole gamut of info from me to keep you alight and buzzing with easy ways to improve your health and reduce stress! And this is my first foodie post for the year....Yummo Zucchini and Sweet Potato Bread. So so so good! ---> and SO easy!

Below I've laid out the recipe for my version of Yummo Zucchini and Sweet Potato Bread and let me tell you, it is YUM! Not only is it yummy (yes that is the main word that keeps popping into my mind as I munch on a slice of this), but it is full of nourishing ingredients and very easy to whip up with a food processor. The ingredients and process are listed, but I would urge you to be creative with it. It really is just a base recipe and you can add all kinds of extras, and don't really need to be anal about measurements, as long as you have a consistency you're comfortable baking then you're fine.

Side note: I think my mixture could have done with some more almond meal because it turned out quite 'eggy', but, whatever! It's still yum!

So here are the ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of almond meal
  • 1 tspn of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast (or Parmesan if it suits you)
  • 1 tbspn of rosemary (dried or fresh, both taste good)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 brown onion chopped
  • 1.5 cups (approx.) of sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 1.5 cups (approx.) of zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 5 eggs
  • season with a dash of sea salt
  • a pinch of paprika
  • walnuts to decorate


1. Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius, line a large tin with baking paper. My tin was quite large and flat, however you could use something smaller and deeper and adjust your cooking time accordingly.

2. Use a food processor with the grater blade to process the sweet potato, zucchini, onion, and garlic.

3. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

4. Add the spinach, baking powder, almond meal, nutritional yeast, and seasoning, and mix through well.

5. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Lightly beat the eggs in the centre before mixing it well through the rest of the bowl.

6. Spread the mixture evenly into the baking tin and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

7. After 25 minutes, open the oven and place the walnuts on top, pressing them into the mixture. You could use cherry tomato pieces, feta pieces, or sultanas if you like.

8. Keep baking for another 10-15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a knife blade comes out of the mixture clean.

I enjoyed mine with delicious sweet potato chips I made up with the leftovers! Leave a comment below if you try the recipe or have an idea for a variation. I'd love to hear it!