Tips for Travelers from a Massage Therapist

Heading on spring break, or starting to book some summer adventures? While traveling is exciting, and vacations relaxing, sometimes getting where you are going can be a headache!

Cramped quarters in cars and planes, stuffy air and germs, and stressful planning can lead to some less than stellar traveling experiences. Luckily, there are always measures you can take to reduce and combat physical and mental stress while traveling.

As with many things in life, taking preventative measures for travel-related ills is critical. Have a long flight coming up and didn’t luck out on an exit row seat? Or maybe you’re headed on a short road trip, but get anxious and restless in the car. Whatever your travel plans, for your physical health and mental sanity, booking a pre-travel massage can be lifesaving.

Massage for Travelers

How to travel with ease.

Massage has many benefits for a traveling body and mind. Pre-travel massage helps to loosen and relax muscles, as well as increase circulation. Getting a massage right before you leave will help stave off sore limbs and joints, and muscle kinks from sitting in a car, plane, or train for prolonged periods of time. Massage is also known to help release toxins in the body, which will help your body strengthen and heal, ensuring your immune system is ready to gear up and fight the physical stress of travel and potential of catching a cold from another sick passenger. Staying sane while traveling is just as important as keeping care of your physical health. Massage helps to relax and ease the mind, helping you find some zen along the path of your travels.

Travel Tips

Of course, if you can’t find time for a pre-travel massage, fear not, there are other traveling practices you can adapt to help you achieve similar results including:

Before loading up the car or boarding a flight, find time to do some pre-travel stretching. Focus on getting some good stretches in those areas you know will bother you, like the neck, back, and legs. Also consider finding some quiet space and practicing a simple yoga flow, either doing a simple routine you know or finding a guide on Youtube. Many airports also have designated yoga rooms you can use for your pre-flight flow.

The stress of traveling getting to your head? Utilize some aromatherapy techniques with essential oils to find some peace and calm an anxious mind. Having lavender oil on hand to run into feet, temples or wrists will help keep travel stress in check. Pair with some breathing exercises or a meditation app to boost your relaxation. Of course, if you are planning on flying with essential oils as a carry-on item make sure they are TSA compliant.

As always, stay hydrated! Hydrate before, during, and after your travels to keep your body functioning at its best.

Tips for Traveling from a Massage Therapist

Whether you’re coming home to Steamboat after a trip, heading here to ski, or getting out of town, book a pre-travel massage and grab some essential oils from our gift shop at Kneading Hands. Your therapist will personalize bodywork to target any sore, problem areas, and get you prepared for the road ahead. Safe journeys!

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Skiers

Ski Season and Injury Risk

What to do in Steamboat Springs Colorado, Massage

Ski season is in full swing here in beautiful Steamboat Springs. Whether you are a local with a season pass, or in town for a winter vacation, after the first few days hitting the slopes the inevitable soreness and achiness in the muscles and body begins to set in. Skiing, no matter your skill level, is an extreme sport. Hard falls, high speeds, and rough terrain all combine to make skiing and snowboarding a highly intense winter activity. Skiing engages your full body and all of it’s muscle groups, and while it’s a great workout, there’s a lot of opportunity for injury as well.

Much of the injury that may occur from skiing is due to wear and tear on the body. Most injury will be bruises, as well as sore and pulled muscles. The joints are usually in the most danger of being injured more seriously. According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) knee injuries alone account for about 45% of all serious skiing injuries, with hips being the next for highest chance of injury. Moguls, sharp inclines and turns can wreak havoc on the joints of a skier over time.

The best way to avoid injury during the ski season is through preventative measures. Along with having properly fitted gear (and of course, always a helmet), it’s important your body and mind are prepared as well. Keeping up with a healthy, athletic lifestyle in the offseason will ensure your body is ready for ski season. Be sure to get some good stretching in before and after a day on the slopes. In addition to keeping your body in shape, keeping a relaxed and focused mind will also benefit your performance on the slopes. In the event of injury, acting quickly is key. Being sure to rest, ice injuries, keep injuries elevated, and seek professional medical help when needed will help protect against further damage and injury.

Massage Therapy for Skiers

In addition to leading an active healthy lifestyle, purchasing the best equipment, and taking care of injury in a timely manner, all skiers beginner to professional should consider adding massage therapy to their arsenal of injury prevention and treatment methods. Massage therapy both before and after skiing will help ensure you shred the slopes, not your body.

Massage therapy plays a vital role in sports medicine. Massage therapy benefits the body by helping to increase blood flow, oxygenate the muscles, and improve lymphatic drainage and aid in the removal of toxins from the body. Massage therapy can greatly assist full body recovery as well as strengthening the muscles for future physical activity.

Using massage as a preventative measure before skiing can help reduce your risk of injury this ski season. Getting a massage before hitting the mountain will release tension in the body, relax and elongate the muscles and improve flexibility, taking stress off the joints. A relaxing massage will also help promote a clear, relaxed mind, keeping your focused and aware of your surroundings during your runs.

Scheduling an après ski massage will help aid your bodies recovery process and prevent future injury. Working out muscles kinks, improving circulation and draining toxins will reduce inflammation, shorten muscle recovery time, and ease soreness. A post ski massage will help you unwind after a long day skiing, and promote deeper relaxation and better sleep so you’ll be ready to go again the following day.

What to do when you ski in Steamboat Springs Colorado At Kneading Hands our highly trained staff of massage therapists will create a massage treatment best suited to your personal needs. We will match you with the best available therapist who specialties will best suit your symptoms and goals for your massage. Your therapist will personalize bodywork to target your problem areas and get you feeling like your best self. To schedule an appointment email or call 970-846-8444. Happy skiing!


Can a muscle really tie itself into a “knot”?

What is commonly called a muscle knot is really irritation and tangling of the fascia (connective tissue) that surrounds and permeates a muscle. When stressed and dehydrated fascia becomes gel-like and sticks together. This creates adhesions or “knots”.

These muscle adhesions can occur almost anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found in the back, shoulders and neck. Causes vary, but they are usually a result of poor posture, heavy lifting, dehydration, over use, and the holding of emotional tension in these areas.

Massage can help release muscle adhesions by coaxing the fascia back to its more natural liquid like state. Effective techniques stimulate heat, increase blood flow, and apply strategic pressure to key areas. Regular massage, as well as improved body awareness and mechanics can help you avoid developing these often painful “knots” in the first place.

Prenatal Massage

Several studies have shown that massage during pregnancy can provide many benefits to both the mother and baby. One study at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed the following benefits of prenatal massage;

– Lowered anxiety and depression by triggering the brain to decrease production of stress hormones and increase production of natural “feel good” chemicals.

– Decreased leg and back pain.

– Improved sleep.

Prenatal massage is usually performed with the woman lying on her side to avoid pressure on the abdomen. Pillows, bolsters, and cushions are used to ensure comfort.

Massage for Hamstring Strains and Injury Prevention

With all the fun in Steamboat to participate in, skiing, trail running, horse-back riding you may be having some trouble with your hamstrings. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located at the posterior or rear thigh. These muscles play a crucial role in a number of Steamboat activities.

Hamstring injuries can occur when these muscles become tight and then are abruptly stretched beyond their comfortable limit. In some instances the muscles can actually tear and an audible “pop” can be heard.

Massage can be useful in both preventing hamstring injury and aiding in healing already strained hamstrings.

For injury prevention, regular massage helps keep the hamstring muscles healthy by stretching the muscles and releasing tight spots that could lead to future injury.

Once a hamstring has been strained, massage can help loosen scar tissue and tight muscles, stimulate blood flow, and aid in gently stretching the injured muscles.

Though massage can be an invaluable tool in healing, it should not be performed during the most acute stage of the injury when rest is the best approach. Your medical provider, in partnership with your licensed massage therapist can discuss with you an ideal treatment plan to get you back to and keep you at peak performance so you don’t miss a single powder day!

Regular Massage Helps Prevent Rotator Cuff Injuries

Regular professional massage can help prevent sports and overuse injuries. Rotator cuff strain is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain and reduced range of motion in the shoulder joint.

Causes of rotator cuff injury can vary, but is often a result of chronic overuse of the shoulder such as seen with tennis players, baseball players, carpenters, construction workers, and any activity which requires frequent overhead arm movement.

These injuries can be extremely debilitating. In severe cases one may become unable to lift their arm higher than their shoulder to the front and to the side. By the time this occurs surgical intervention may be a last solution.

One of the many benefits of massage therapy is that it can help prevent rotator cuff strain in the first place. It does this by helping to keep the shoulder muscles flexible, improves the range of motion, lengthens adaptively shortened muscles, and increases blood flow to the muscles, tendons, and joints of the affected area.

If you feel you may be at risk of developing rotator cuff problems, regular sessions with a professional massage therapist can be a key part of your preventative health care and an injury free lifestyle!

Massage for Boosting Sport Performance

We all know that massage is great for stress relief and relaxation, but it has many other benefits as well. Did you know that massage can enhance sports performance and assist in a quick recovery? Sports massage focuses on the specific muscles groups used for each athletes sport.

Pre-sports massage can prepare an athlete for high intensity activity by helping to stretch the muscles groups and increase blood flow, as well as helping to improve joint range of motion. Psychological benefits include helping an athlete to have increased focus and confidence that their muscles are ready to perform at the highest level possible.

Research suggests that massage offers important post-exercise benefits as well. For instance, researchers at Ohio State University have shown in animal studies that post-exercise massage results in less swelling and fewer signs of inflammation when compared to animals that had not received massage after exercise.

Don’t forget to let massage therapy be an important part of your strategy for peak sports performance!

Fun Facts and Benefits of Massage

Benefits of Massage

Massage is to the human body what a tune-up is to a car”
-Chicago Tribune

  • Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion
  • Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers
  • Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow – the body’s natural defense system.
  • Exercise and stretch weak, tight or atrophied muscles.
  • Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts
  • Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ – the skin
  • Increase joint flexibility
  • Lessen depression and anxiety
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue
  • Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation
  • Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling
  • Reduce spasms and cramping
  • Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles
  • Relieve migraine pain
  • and MANY more!

Fun Facts About Massage

  • One hour massage equates to 7-8 hours of sleep on the body
  • There are approximately 5 million touch receptors in our skin – 3,000 in a finger tip
  • Muscles are made up of bundles from about 5 in the eyelid to about 200 in the buttock muscles
  • Touch is the first sense to develop in humans, and may be the last to fade
  • Massage therapy is the third most commonly used form of alternative medicine in the US
  • Experts estimate that stress is responsible for 80-90% of disease
  • Office workers massaged regularly are more alert, perform better and are less stressed than those who aren’t massaged

The Gratitude Visit

This week I thought a fun exercise would be the “Gratitude Visit”, an exercise developed by Dr. Marty Seligman a leader in the field of Positive Psychology. This field studies on helping “normal” people lead fuller more happy lives. So get your happy on this week and follow these three basic steps to lift your spirit and increase your joy.

!) Think of someone who has done something important and wonderful for you, yet who you have not properly thanked.
2) Reflect on the benefits you received from this person, and write a letter expressing your gratitude for all they have done for you.

3) Arrange a time to deliver the letter in person, and spend some time talking with the person about what you have wrote.

Do you feel those endorphins pumping already???

Encouragement through Rewards

This week I thought we could talk a little about encouraging ourselves through rewards. As children our parents often encouraged us through rewards, though once we reached adulthood this powerful motivator often halts. This can still be a powerful tool when used appropriately. The best rewards are one’s that are not harmful to your health, are readily available, and don’t cost too much. One idea is to create a list and keep it in a prominent place where you will remember to encourage and take care of yourself. Here is a sample list to get you started;

1) Take a bath.

2) Call a friend who lives far away.

3) Read a book.

4) Try a new restaurant.

5) And of course… Get a massage.

Remember, life should be fun, take care of yourself and reward yourself for all your hard efforts!