As a massage therapist, every summer, I see an increase in the number of clients with a condition called plantar fasciitis. This is medical term for an inflammation of the tendons and ligaments at the bottom of your foot, characterized by a sharp pain at the front of the heel that usually feels worse in the morning getting out of bed.
The reason why I see this more in the summer is because of the change in footwear - more flip flops and sandals, less structured shoes. However, this condition can be caused by anything that puts strain on your feet at any time, including athletics (especially runners), ill-fitting shoes or worn soles, pregnancy, or even being overweight. Prevent pain with proper footwear, making sure you have arch support and a heel between 3/4" and 1 1/2".
Medical treatment options include NSAIDS to reduce inflammation and decrease pain; specific stretches and massage; shoe inserts (orthotics); and in severe cases, night splints, casts or surgery.
The One Hour Classic Massage can help; I will use techniques to relax and lengthen your calf muscles, the tendon from your heel to the calf, and the muscles and connective tissue at the bottom of the foot, as well as muscles in the hips and thighs, which get tight from long hours of sitting at the computer or driving. These deep tissue massage techniques help to create better posture, which affects movement, to put less strain on the feet. Many clients see improvement in 3 to 4 weekly one hour massage sessions.
Here's some things to try at home;
1. Calf stretch - Sit with one foot placed over the opposite knee. Flex your ankle, then use your hand to pull your toes gently toward the shin to increase the stretch of the calf. Repeat several times slowly until you feel the calf relaxing.
2. Self massage of bottom of foot - roll your foot over a golf ball or similarly sized ball.
3. RICE - A sports injury term used in massage therapy that stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. You can use ice to massage the painful area of the foot. Fill several paper cups with water and freeze. When frozen, peel back the paper and massage the bottom of the foot with the ice.
Acupressure is a technique derived from acupuncture that is often used in massage. No needles are used, just firm, sustained pressure on specific points to achieve a desired effect. One of the effects is appetite control.
Here are some appetite controlling acupressure points used in professional massage that you can use at home. Find the points and apply pressure (not to cause pain) for 2 minutes.
1. Appetite Control Point - locate the small piece of flesh that protrudes from the inside of the ear, above the earlobe. Hold between finger and thumb for 2 minutes.
2. Earlobe - beneath earlobe where the ear is connected to the jaw.
3. Shin - place 4 fingers right below kneecap. The point is on the outer part of the shin level with the last finger.
4. Upper Lip - Locate the point in the center between the end of your nose and beginning of your upper lip.
Try these before eating. Note: if pregnant, don't use the Shin Point,
Summer sun feels good on our skin, but sunburn, premature aging manifesting as wrinkles and dark spots, and skin cancer are concerns. Here's how to protect and repair skin exposed to summer sun.
Use a sunscreen with an spf of at least 25 that have zinc and/or titanium dioxide. Don't use spf above 50, as it has more chemicals and doesn't give significantly greater protection. For example, a 30 spf supplies 97% coverage; a 50 spf supplies 98% coverage. The FDA says that values above 50 are "inherently misleading", giving a false sense of protection. Research has shown some of these chemicals, like oxybenzone and avobenzone, are absorbed by skin and are hormone disrupting. Look for natural ingredients that provide spf, like zinc and titanium dioxide which are not absorbed by skin.
Avoid retinol, retinyl palmitate and AHA's in your summer daytime moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation. These can increase the risk of sunburn and actually deepen wrinkles when exposed to sun. For a retinol alternative that won't cause issues in the sun, use the Eminence Age Corrective products under a good organic sunscreen.
Take cover, and reapply sunscreen frequently. Wear protective clothing like hats, seek shade and avoid sun between 10am – and 2pm. The FDA now recommends that consumers reapply every 2 hours, but also keep in mind that you'll need to reapply when sunscreen's effectiveness is reduced by sweat or water activities.
Avoid sun when taking certain drugs. Common medicines that cause sun sensitivity include antibiotics, antidepressants (even natural ones like St. John's Wort), benzoyl peroxide, antihistamines, diuretics, antihypertensives, cholesterol drugs, oral contraceptives and HRT's. You are at greater risk for sunburn, skin damage and more when exposing your skin to sun while taking these meds.
Add nutrients and moisture to your skin. Help keep skin healthy and efficiently heal when you do burn. Part of your daily skin routine must include proper hydration and nutrition inside and out. This means drinking adequate amounts of water, avoiding caffeine, eating a broad range of fruits and veggies equal to about half of your plate, and using a nutrient-rich moisturizer of serum on your skin.
If you get a burn - hydrate inside and out, and try these natural sunburn cooling ingredients - stone crop, aloe or apple cider vinegar, applied to skin as cool compresses; oatmeal in a cool bath followed by aloe gel or stone crop lotion; cucumber slices for small areas, like a burn on your nose or cheeks.
So remember, that prevention is key. Moderating sun time and using a proper sunscreen will still allow you to tan, without harmful, aging effects, and you'll have an even look when your skin is well hydrated after sun exposure.
Tips for Calm Living
Health and beauty through massage and organic skincare