How to Use an Ice Pack

How to Use an Ice Pack for PainAre you experiencing muscle pain, sprain or swelling? Cold therapy can be an effective way used to reduce pain & swelling.  Here are some tips to use a cold pack, safely:


  • Very cold applications, such as ice packs, should be used briefly on localized areas, like inflammation, swelling or sprains.


  • Use for 20-30 minutes on the injury followed by 15-20 minutes off.


  • This therapy works best when used frequently within the first 24 hours of an injury.


  • Always use a cloth between your skin and ice.


  • NOTE: If a joint or limb seems deformed or you can’t bear weight or otherwise use it normally after hours, contact your physician.


Source: Take Care of Yourself: The Complete guide to Medical Self-Care, Donald Vickery, MD, and James Fries, MD.


Loosen Up Bodywork’s certified massage therapists specialize in deep tissue, sports massage & NMT, to provide the highest quality massage therapy for our clients. Book a massage appointment at our Pleasant Hill massage studio online or call (925) 289-9750.

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

Pleasant Hill Massage for StressWe all have felt the effects of stress: strong emotions, tense muscles, increased blood pressure. Maybe it’s financial issues, a family member was ill or you were in a car accident that caused the stress.

Other times, it’s every day activities like traffic, construction noise outside your home, deadlines at work, or other daily challenges. We may not consider daily situations as crises, our bodies can react the same way to stress.

Muscle tension is one of the symptoms we experience when we’re stressed. Your shoulders and neck feels tight. Maybe your jaw feels tense & get a headache.

So what can you do to reduce the stress of everyday activities?

  1. Go outside.

    Sunlight & fresh air can lift your spirits.

  2. Before you go to sleep, write out your to-do list or journal.

    Do you have trouble going to sleep at night? Writing out all of your thoughts before bedtime can calm the mind & help you get a good night’s sleep.

  3. Get a massage.

    Massage is proven to decrease muscle tension, increase blood circulation and decreases insomnia. Massage triggers the relaxation response, which is exactly what’s needed when you’re experience a stressful time.

Image: Ambro /

The Difference Between Swedish & Deep Tissue Massage

Pleasant Hill Massage ThearpistA common question we get is, “What’s the difference between Swedish Massage & Deep Tissue Massage?”

Often, people think of pressure.  Most people think that Swedish massage is light & stress-relieving, while Deep Tissue is strong pressure & can even hurt.

Pressure is part of the answer, but the real difference is the Intention of the massage.

If you want to relax, relieve stress, improve circulation, and even sleep better, Swedish massage may be the best massage modality (or style) for you.  The pressure can be moderate to light, but did you know you can have a deep Swedish massage?  Yes, pressure can be adjusted to each individual’s preference.

The intention for a Deep Tissue massage is to work on the deeper layers of the muscles and breaking up adhesion (or knots) that can refer pain to other parts of the body.  Deep Tissue massage is rarely light pressure, but it’s not necessarily digging in with the elbows all the time either.

So here’s the tricky part — not all massage therapists know the difference!  When you select your massage therapist, be sure to select someone who is not only skilled technically at different types of massage, but also has great  communication skills.  Look for a massage therapist that asks for feedback from you without disrupting the rhythm of the massage or your relaxation and can adjust the massage accordingly.