Treat Sleep Issues & Insomnia with Massage Therapy

Treat Sleep Issues & Insomnia with Massage Therapy

If you can’t sleep at night, you’re not alone. Over 30% of adults report experiencing a lack of sleep, or insomnia, which can cause (or worsen) such unsavory symptoms as depression, anxiety, and irritability. Most people either suffer through sleepless nights or reach for sleeping pills or OTC medicine. But there’s a better method to put you on the fast track to slumber – a sleep massage. Sleep massage can help you get the rest you need on a regular basis – and there’s no need to resort to taking a slug of Nyquil.

What causes insomnia?
Some common causes for insomnia include:
* Stress
* Illness
* Pain (especially back pain and neck pain)
* Life changes
* Aging

Can a massage relieve insomnia?
Sleep is influenced by your hormones, especially melatonin. Melatonin causes sleepiness and relaxation. Serotonin, the “feel good” hormone, is necessary to the body’s production of melatonin. Massage has been proven to raise levels of serotonin and reduce muscle stress – thus helping you get to sleep.

Massage also relieves pain that can keep you awake at night – massage for back pain and neck pain is especially helpful.
How is sleep massage different?
All massage helps with sleep to some extent, but our sleep massage is specially designed to promote deep and restorative sleep. The massage includes a combination of gentle pressure, rocking, scalp massage, hand massage, and foot reflexology massage.

Does lavender oil help insomnia?
Lavender oil, when coupled with massages or even on its own, is a proven insomnia remedy. Studies have shown that a lavender aroma helps relax muscles and promotes deep sleep. Plus, it smells great too.

To schedule a session contact us at 813-695-2338. And as always do something today to IMPACT tomorrow!

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C-Section Scars and the Dolphin Neurostim

C-Section Scars and the Dolphin Neurostim

Most people don’t realize it, but with C-section scars (and any abdominal scarring) there’s the scarring you see on the outside at the incision site, and the scarring you can’t see on the inside – called adhesions. While both can cause issues, adhesions are the primary culprits for much of the chronic pain and dysfunction faced by women who’ve undergone a C-section.

Surgery is the leading cause of adhesions in the body, and C-sections are the number one surgery performed in the United States with over 1.3 million performed annually in the USA alone. Adhesions develop naturally when there is internal trauma to our bodies, such as a surgical operation. While they’re naturally occurring, they can have adverse affects on our bodies by connecting tissue that shouldn’t be connected, like organs – in fact, women who’ve had a C-section sometimes develop Small Bowel Obstruction, a condition where the intestinal tract is kinked and twisted by adhesions. They also connect to our fascia, the web-like structure that connects all organs and tissues in our bodies. When they connect to our fascia they can distort it, pulling muscles, and pinching nerves. This limits our ability to move freely and heightens the sensitivity of the autonomic nervous system which controls our pain.

Abdominal adhesions are fast becoming an epidemic in the United States. Digestive Surgery reported that 90% of patients with abdominal surgeries will develop adhesions. Every year in the United States alone where millions of abdominal surgeries are performed such as C-sections, appendectomies, hysterectomies, tummy tucks, and the biggest problem is that not many women are aware of the risks that adhesions pose until after they’ve gone under the knife.

How does the Dolphin Neurostim™ work?

It’s simple! The Dolphin Neurostim™ is applied to each side of visible scars, transferring gentle DC microcurrent deep into the tissue of the skin. When the microcurrent enters our body, it helps electrically “repolarize” or release the thickened scar tissue as well as release fascia and muscles impinged by the scarring. Circulation is also increased which in turn helps the lymphatic system remove dead cells from the body and encourages blood flow and healing to the area.

All of this helps return mobility, improve appearance, and decrease pain both at the site of the scar and anywhere else in the body that scar may be affecting. In many cases, relief can be felt with one application!

To learn more about how MPS Therapy can help you or to schedule a session contact us at 813-695-2338 /

#mpstherapy #holistic #painmanagement #caesarean #csection #scars #fascia #adhesions #mobility #flexibility #pain #obgyn #womenshealth

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Is caffeine responsiveness in your genes?

If you’re an athlete, you might consider caffeine in order to improve your performance – at least 75% of athletes do. The effects of caffeine are different from one person to another. You might have experienced this yourself; perhaps you can drink a cup of coffee just before bed, whilst your partner can’t sleep if they consume any caffeine after midday. Recently, researchers have suggested that these effects have a genetic component.


Why are the responses to caffeine so individual? Well, as you can no doubt imagine, the answer is complex. The impact of caffeine, both in our daily lives and during exercise, is governed by many different factors. One such factor is the speed by which caffeine is absorbed – for example, caffeine from caffeinated gum tends to be absorbed quicker than caffeine from a sports drink because it is absorbed through the lining of the mouth, as opposed to the stomach. The contents of your stomach can further slow caffeine absorption, with a full stomach reducing absorption rates. But even the same delivery of caffeine can give varying responses between individuals because caffeine breakdown (metabolism) by our bodies differs. This will affect how long caffeine can have its positive (or, if you can’t sleep, negative) effects for. Caffeine can also be more effective when the receptors that caffeine binds to are more abundant or more available.


At present, variation in two genes, called CYP1A2 and ADORA2A has been shown to impact the performance enhancing effects of caffeine, although these early results have not been well replicated. These genes cause these effects through slightly different mechanisms. CYP1A2 creates an enzyme (called cytochrome P450) which is responsible for how our bodies break down caffeine, and a small change in this gene can predispose people to be “fast” or “slow” caffeine metabolisers.


If you’re a fast metabolizer, then you break down caffeine quicker, so the effects of caffeine should last for a shorter time – which sounds negative, but it may well be that the molecules caffeine is broken down into also improve performance, which means being a fast metaboliser could be useful. A study from 2012 found that fast metabolisers saw a greater performance enhancing effect of 6 mg/kg caffeine than slow metabolisers on a 40km cycle time-trial (1). Whilst these results have been replicated, other studies have shown no effect of this gene on performance enhancement following caffeine, so a definitive answer is not yet possible.


The second gene that may affect how much caffeine improves our performance is ADORA2A. This gene encodes for an adenosine receptor. When adenosine binds to this receptor it make us feel tired – not ideal for sport! One of the ways by which caffeine improves our performance is by competing with adenosine for the adenosine receptors. In other words the more caffeine that binds to these receptors, the less adenosine can. As a result, we feel less tired and lethargic. As such, variation in these adenosine receptors may alter have much caffeine improves our performance. A single study, from 2015, has examined this, finding that this gene did impact improvements in performance following caffeine use (2). Variation in this gene might also contribute to increased anxiety or poor sleep with increased caffeine intake, which could also affect sporting performance.


But genes aren’t everything, and differences in our environment (a collective term that refers to non-genetic factors) also contribute to the inter-individual response to caffeine use. These include smoking, vegetable intake, menstrual cycle stage, and training status. Differences in how the caffeine is consumed, such as dose, timing, source, all impact how much caffeine improves our performance. Interestingly, those that believe caffeine will enhance their performance see a greater performance enhancing effect during exercise than those who don’t (3).


It is therefore clear that a large number of factors impact how much caffeine improves our performance. These fit broadly into three categories; genetic, environmental (i.e. non-genetic) and epigenetic (changes in genetic expression that aren’t caused by changes to the underlying genetic code). This inter-individual variation is so clear and so well replicated – and yet we have very broad, standardized caffeine recommendations: 3-9 mg/kg, taken 60-minutes before. This means there is a mismatch between what we know – the response to caffeine is highly individualized – and what is often preached – a one-size-fits-all recommendation on how to use caffeine in sport.


What does this mean to you?

One day, we might be able to use genetic profiling to give us a better idea of how we might respond to caffeine. But in the meantime, it comes down to self-experimentation. If you use caffeine to improve your performance, experiment with different dosages and different timings. Try it in tablet form and as part of a drink. Monitor how it affects you – do you sleep well that night? Are you anxious? This constant self-experimentation and self-assessment carried out in training enables you to select the caffeine strategy best suited to you, as opposed to the current one-size-fits-all recommendations, which are aimed at the average person; and, as we all know, you’re not average.



  1. Womack CJ, et al. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9(1):7.

  2. Loy B, et al. Journal of Caffeine Research 2015;5(2):73-81.

  3. Pickering C, Kiely Are the Current Guidelines on Caffeine Use in Sport Optimal for Everyone? Inter-individual Variation in Caffeine Ergogenicity, and a Move Towards Personalised Sports NutritionJ. Sports Med. 2017 (In Press).

| Craig Pickering (mysportscience)

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The body’s healing process

The body’s healing process:

Healing refers to the restoration of damaged or diseases part of the body. Wound healing is an intricate process of repair after injury. Skin is a protective barrier against the external harms. When this barrier is broken down, healing process sets in. Wound healing process includes three phases: inflammation, proliferation and remodeling.

Inflammatory phase: It is a protective phenomenon after tissue injury as it eliminates the injury initiating factors and restores the function. Just before the inflammatory phase commences, tissue hemostasis sets in and stops the bleeding. Soon after the hemostasis process, certain chemicals such as cytokines and chemokines are released to attract and stimulate immunity cells to kill or eat the harming bacteria or debris. Clotting cascade activates and aggregates platelets and forms plug with the help of certain proteins called fibrin and fibronectin. Growth factors are released from platelets which speed up the wound repair by increasing the cell divisions. Processes of vasoconstriction and vasodilatation further maintain the homeostasis. Neutrophils and macrophages secrete proteases and kill and phagocytize bacteria, damaged tissue and debris.

Proliferative phase: As soon as the inflammatory phase dies down, proliferative phase commences. In this phase fibroblasts and endothelial cells migrate to the injured site and pave way for angiogenesis, fibroplasia and granulation tissue formation. Fibroblasts produce collagen protein which is most important in order to strengthen the healing wound. Granulation tissue helps re-epithelialization of the wound site, reestablishing the protective barrier.

Remodeling phase: Collagen is the main healing protein. When collagen deposition and degradation equalizes, remodeling process begins. Collagen type III of proliferative phase is replaced by stronger collagen type I during remodeling. In this process, collagen fibers are rearranged, cross-linked and aligned to offer maximum tensile strength to the wound. Collagen deposition to the wound site causes scar formation. All the wounds end up with scars except for minor cuts and abrasions. Current medical science aims at wound healing with minimal scarring and more perfect tissue reconstruction.

To learn more or to schedule a session call 813-695-2338. Do something today to IMPACT tomorrow!

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Can Massage Help with Tension Headaches?

A clamp. A vise. A tight rubber band stretched firmly around your skull. Whatever your tension headache feels like, it’s no picnic. Whether yours is brought on by a single stressful event (summer with all the kids and activities) or a regular, ongoing stress, chances are that you wish they wouldn’t happen in the first place. Though often dubbed “stress headaches,” many people experience them regardless of their stress level.

Here are a few things you may not know about these nasty pains:

– Tension headaches can be brought on by hunger, low iron levels, fatigue, anxiety, or even bad posture.

– Some people get them for no apparent reason whatsoever.

– Up to 80% of adults get tension headaches periodically, and 3% of adults are chronic sufferers (meaning, they experience one daily).

– Women are two times as likely to get tension headaches as men.

– This is one thing you didn’t get from Mom – these types of headaches are not hereditary.

With head pain being so prevalent among us, there’s likely a whole lot of pill-popping going on, as well. While a few quick ibuprofen tablets may take the edge off of the pain, there’s a price to pay for that comfort. Frequent, ongoing ibuprofen use can lead to damage of the stomach lining. Add in the possibility of diarrhea or constipation, ulcers, nosebleeds, and hypertension, and you’re getting way more than you bargain for. What about acetaminophen (commonly known as Tylenol)? Although it is the most widely-used painkiller in the world, regular use is not without its own potential risks. In fact, frequent, heavy acetaminophen users can be responsible for digestive tract bleeding and kidney disease.

One more tension headache useful fact you may not know: massage is a proven method of preventing and treating stress-related head pain. In an oldie-but-goodie study from 30 years ago, participants with tension headaches were treated to massage-like touch. 90% of those participants felt relief from their head pain immediately, and 70% still felt relief four hours later. Other studies have shown that in regards to tension headache pain, massage can decrease perceived pain, reduce intensity, reduce frequency, reduce duration, decrease anger status, and decrease medication usage.

Not only that, but the effects from your massage can be surprisingly far-reaching, and can improve sleep, increase feelings of well-being, strengthen your immune system, and reduce anxiety and stress in general. Plus, they can be a successful preventative measure when received regularly. Can your anti-inflammatory do that?

During a massage, your massage therapist can focus on the tightened muscles around your neck, face, head, and shoulders that can tense up and lead to cranial pain, loosening and lengthening the muscles and tendons, increasing circulation and flexibility in those areas. Specifically, he or she will likely hone in on your suboccipital muscles, which are the love-to-be-massaged muscles in your neck at the base of your skull. As always, discuss your tension headache problem with your massage therapist. As he or she practices various massage techniques to relieve your pain and you provide feedback, you’ll eventually find exactly what works for you. As a result, you may just consider yourself a grateful and happy tension-headache-free minority. Are you ready to get rid of that tension now?

To learn more or to schedule a session call 813-695-2338 /

#massagetherapy #painmanagement #holistic #headaches #tension #stress #neckpain #backpain #massage

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Tattoo artist and back pain

Getting a tattoo may hurt, but giving one is no picnic, either.That’s the finding of the first study ever to directly measure the physical stresses that lead to aches and pains in tattoo artists—workers who support a multibillion-dollar American industry, but who often don’t have access to workers’ compensation if they get injured.

Researchers at The Ohio State University measured the muscle exertions of 10 central Ohio tattoo artists while they were working, and found that all of them exceeded maximums recommended to avoid injury, especially in the muscles of their upper back and neck.

In the journal Applied Ergonomics, the researchers presented their findings and offered some suggestions on how tattoo artists can avoid injury.

The study was unique, explained Carolyn Sommerich, director of the Engineering Laboratory for Human Factors/Ergonomics/Safety at Ohio State. She and former master’s student Dana Keester spent a summer “hanging out in tattoo parlors with our EMG equipment, cameras and a tripod,” observing artists who agreed to work while wearing electrodes that precisely measured their muscle activity.

To the researchers’ knowledge, this is the first time that anyone has gathered such data from tattoo artists at work.The electrodes gathered data for 15 seconds every 3 minutes for the entirety of each tattoo session. Though a single tattoo session can last as long as 8 hours depending on the size and complexity of the tattoo, the sessions used in the study lasted anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. In addition, the researchers used a standardized observational assessment tool to assess each artist’s posture every five minutes and took a picture to document each observation.

To Keester, some reasons for the artists’ discomfort were immediately obvious. She noted that they sit for prolonged periods of time, often taking a posture just like the one immortalized in Norman Rockwell’s painting “Tattoo Artist”—they perch on low stools, lean forward, and crane their neck to keep their eyes close to the tattoo they’re creating.

All 10 tattoo artists exceeded recommended exertion limits in at least one muscle group. Most notable was the strain on their trapezius muscles—upper back muscles that connect the shoulder blades to either side of the neck, a common site for neck/shoulder pain. Some exceeded limits by as much as 25 percent, putting them at high risk for injury.

Those findings mesh well with a prior survey of tattoo artists that Keester carried out at the Hell City Tattoo Festival in Columbus, Ohio, in 2014. Among the 34 artists surveyed, the most common complaints were back pain (94 percent), headache (88 percent), neck pain (85 percent) and eye pain (74 percent).

Tattoo artists suffer ailments similar to those experienced by dentists and dental hygienists, the researchers concluded. Like dental workers, tattoo artists perform detailed work with their hands while leaning over clients. But, unlike dental workers, tattoo artists in the United States lack a national organization that sets ergonomic guidelines for avoiding injury.
One of the main problems is that the industry doesn’t have specialized seating to support both the artist and the client, said Sommerich.

“There’s no such thing as an official ‘tattoo chair,’ so artists adapt dental chairs or massage tables to make a client comfortable, and then they hunch over the client to create the tattoo,” Sommerich said.

Adding to the problem is the fact that many tattoo artists are independent contractors who rent studio space from shop owners, so they’re not covered by workers’ compensation if they get hurt on the job, Keester said.

Despite these challenges, the Ohio State researchers came up with some suggestions that may help artists avoid injury. Artists could experiment with different kinds of chairs for themselves, and try to support their back and arms. They could change positions while they work, take more frequent breaks and use a mounted magnifying glass to see their work instead of leaning in.

They can also consider asking the client to move into a position that is comfortable for both the client and the tattoo artist, Sommerich added.

“If the client can stand or maybe lean on something while the artist sits comfortably, that may be a good option,” she said. “Switch it up once in a while.”

In the United States, tattooing is a $2.3 billion industry. A 2016 Harris Poll found that a third of Americans have at least one tattoo, and an IBIS World report estimated that the industry is growing at around 13 percent per year.


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Healthy pineapple whip

Pineapple Whip is a delicious frozen treat that is actually healthy and super easy to make with only 3 ingredients! Dairy free, paleo + vegan option.

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