Although massage therapy is a luxury for some, it can be a vital component of caregiver self care. Even one massage can give a little tune-up to an overworked caregiver. And many benefit from setting a “me time” routine to help them reset on a regular basis. Over time there is a profoundly positive effect on the body, ranging from the outside to the internal working systems. Think about a car and the maintenance that it needs to stay functioning to maintain good condition and road worthiness. Similarly, many people use massage as preventative maintenance for their muscles and mentality.

Stress can have a powerfully negative impact on the body and the mind. According to WebMD, “Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaint”. Stress can effect basic functions like sleeping, eating, weight regulation, immune function, and more. For a caregiver tasked with the job of managing the health and well-being of others while trying to maintain their own healthy functions, the heaviness of it all can have a major impact on the body and the mind.

What is a Caregiver?

caregiver—sometimes called an informal caregiver—is an unpaid individual (for example, a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor) involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks. Formal caregivers are paid care providers providing care in one’s home or in a care setting (day care, residential facility, long-term care facility). (Source: Family Caregiver Alliance) Both informal and formal caregiving require a lot of emotional and physical energy. Over time, this can lead to stress, physical pain, and burn out.

Massage Therapy is Vital Caregiver Self Care

Massage therapy is vital to caregivers because they need an outlet to release the weight of all that they carry on a day to day basis, emotionally, mentally and physically. Caregivers spend so much of their time caring for others that often times they postpone care for themselves. Just like a car will eventually breakdown after going years without a tune-up, the human body can also begin to breakdown if it goes for long stretches of time without addressing signs of wear and tear. Massage can be the perfect solution for caregivers, helping them to face the daily demands that they face.

How Nimbus Can Help

The team at Nimbus works hard to ensure that each client gets first-rate care. Prior to each session they will perform and intake process to discuss wellness goals, health history, and what massage style has worked (or not) in the past. They will then tailor the session accordingly. Whether the goal is to be more present and less stressed, relieve tension, or combat burn out, Nimbus Massage can help.

Nimbus specializes in helping people manage pain, especially chronic pain, through effective integrative therapies. To book an appointment with one of experienced practitioners: Click Here.  



Massage therapy feels so luxurious, but we know some even better reasons to give the gift of massage. We all know someone, ourselves included, who could use a really good dose of self-care. The end of the year is the perfect time to start wellness activities like massage, yoga or meditation to gear up for all that is to come in 2020. Although the clock is winding down and the last-minute holiday gift rush is upon us, there is still time to purchase a meaningful and thoughtful gift!

To make it even sweeter, we are going to give you five reasons why you should give the gift of massage with  a Nimbus Massage gift card

Living with Chronic Pain is no fun

Do you know someone who lives with a chronic pain syndrome? Complains about neck and shoulder tension? Suffers from headaches, back pain or other ailments? If so, then a gift card from Nimbus Massage would be the perfect way to help them on the road to manage or even eliminate that pain. The massage staff at Nimbus specializes in applying therapeutic massage techniques to help people manage chronic conditions, especially pain. 

Many paths to wellness

Want to help them nurture themselves a little? Connecting to wellness can come in different forms for different people. At Nimbus Massage we pride ourselves on offering integrative services that help people in more than one way. A Nimbus gift card can be used not only toward massage, but toward any of our services like yoga, meditation classes, or nutritional counseling. Even for self-care items from our retail line. In fact, we offer a gift card for our Back on Track Package for those who want it all! This package incorporates: nutritional counseling, massage, a private yoga class, and a take home self-care gift.

Total Recharge

The holidays signify the end of a whole year. The good, the bad, the ehhh… all of it! Whether your someone special is trying to forget all 365 days; revel in all that they have accomplished; or get set for a big 2020. A Massage Therapy gift card can really help someone recharge whom you have watched evolve over the year. Simply hand them over to us and we’ll make sure that we tailor a session for them, to ensure the very best experience. (Or perhaps you need to recharge yourself….)

Couples Massage

If you know (or are part of) a great couple, purchase a gift card for them to use towards a couples massage. Nimbus is one of the few small independent massage studios in Richmond to offer a customized couples massage experience. Since Nimbus does not do choreographed massages, each person gets a session tailored to their own needs and preferences. Because being part of a duo doesn’t mean that each person has the same goals for their massage.

Employee Appreciation

Ok, it is the 25th hour (no pun intended). You are struggling to find something for your team, who have done really great work for you this year. We can come to your location and treat the whole team with chair massage, yoga, or our group meditation & music class. Or, purchase a package of gift cards to give individually. Then they can customize their own unique experience which we promise they will enjoy. 

That’s it!

Ok, so we gave you five VERY valid and awesome reasons to choose a Nimbus Massage Therapy gift card for someone special this holiday season. We look forward to tailoring a session to meet the goals of you or your giftee. To help them BE WELL in the new year.











To shamelessly quote Dylan: “the times they are a changing”. Life now moves at a break-neck pace as technological advances make accessing information faster than ever before. When everything moves this fast, stress typically enters the picture. Finding peace and balance in the midst of it all becomes a must for maintaining health and well-being. Massage can help! But many people want to know whether they should get a “therapeutic” massage or a “relaxation” massage. So, how does one know the difference between a relaxation massage and therapeutic massage? To put it simply: relaxation massage is actually one of many types of therapeutic massage

Managing stress is integral to a healthy lifestyle. A relaxation massage crafted with techniques to ground, center, and calm can deliver just the therapy needed to keep stress in check. To fully explain this point we will break down the details.

What is a Therapeutic Massage?

According to, “Therapeutic massage is the manual manipulation of the body’s soft tissue, and it’s generally used for the reduction of stress and pain. It has been used in many world cultures for more than 4,000 years. Because many diseases are exacerbated by stress, therapeutic massage can help a person become healthier and more resistant to disease.” Therapeutic massage can help with many conditions such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain syndromes
  • Muscular pain
  • Stress!

Stress, anxiety, depression, and pain all play a role in intensifying many ailments and diseases. Therapeutic massage helps break the cycle.

What is Relaxation Massage?

As discussed, stress can have a negative impact on health. Even without any underlying health conditions, stress makes people feel bad. Maybe it was a bad week at work? Or there’s a big presentation coming up, or a family emergency that has taken its toll. Relaxation massage uses techniques designed to help people release emotional and physical tension. Think slow, flowing, and affirming.

At Nimbus, a relaxation massage would generally be a large part of a massage for general wellness or a massage for stress, anxiety, and depression. However, relaxing techniques can enhance any massage. It can help restore wellness or prevent . It can help people stay on top of what their body needs for their best health. Additionally, it can help people cope with long-term medical diagnoses, whether the condition is theirs or their loved-one’s. 

The Nimbus team is ready to help you along your wellness journey. When you come in, we will take a deep dive through your needs and create a plan which will address the type of massage you need whether therapeutic or relaxation to help you find balance, peace and joy. To book a massage today, click HERE, we look forward to helping you feel better.


As a long-time allergy sufferer, and mom of two who little ones who share my allergic misfortune, I am always looking for natural allergy remedies. Whenever possible, I try to manage our symptoms without pharmaceuticals. Pollen season is particularly bad at our house, but I have found a few things that help keep our runny noses and dry coughs soothed.


by James

One commonly hears of a dichotomy in massage therapy between therapy and relaxation.  For example, when selecting the purpose of a massage, a client often specifies either “therapeutic massage” or “relaxation massage.”  Therapy is for fixing problems, and relaxation is for feeling good, for at least a short while.  Might relaxation, however, actually also be therapeutic?  Several medical professionals say that it is in the following ways:


Relaxation can boost the immune system


Dr. Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University showed that chronic stress increased a person’s risk of catching a cold.  It appears that stress hampers the body’s ability to fight inflammation by making immune cells less sensitive to the hormone that “turns off” inflammation.


Relaxation can slow the aging process


A recent study revealed that anxiety disorders increase your risk of several aging-related conditions, possibly because of accelerated aging at the cellular level.  However, this cellular aging turned out to be reversible when the anxiety disorder went into remission.


Relaxation can improve memory, concentration, and problem solving skills


One study found that, at least in mice, chronic stress impaired the memory and learning centers of the brain, as well as its ability to perform abstract thought and cognitive analysis.  Relaxation may help with this by increasing blood flow to the brain.


Relaxation can decrease anxiety and depression


According to William B. Salt II., MD, “The regular elicitation of the relaxation response can result in a reduction in anxiety/depression and improvement in your ability to cope with stress.”


Relaxation can protect the heart


“There are studies to show that stress is comparable to other risk factors that we traditionally think of as major, like hypertension, poor diet and lack of exercise,” says Kathi Heffner, Ph.D. of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.


The physiological state that can bring about these benefits is called the “relaxation response” by Dr. Herbert Benson of Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Dr. Benson has said that “Just sitting quietly or, say, watching television, is not enough to produce the physiological changes. You need to use a relaxation technique that will break the train of everyday thought, and decrease the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.”  I maintain that the trance-like state achieved during a relaxation massage often induces is this very relaxation response.


A final note on cortisol 

Several health professionals believe that the relaxation response provides its health benefits by decreasing the level of cortisol in the body.  Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone, used to fuel the fight-or-flight instinct. Excessive cortisol can contribute to such problems as weight gain, muscle weakness and diabetes.  A 2005 study found that massage therapy decreases cortisol by an average of 31%. A separate 2011 study, however, found that massage decreases cortisol, but by a statistically insignificant amount. Whether a relaxation massage helps by lowering cortisol or by some other means, its health benefits are well-documented.  As the 2011 study went on to say, “[massage therapy has] well-established…beneficial effects on anxiety, depression, and pain”.



Groin Injury Relief- by E. Kinzie

It was right around the holiday season and I was out for a leisurely stroll with my husband. Then it happened! A twinge in my left groin area. You know the kind or groin injury that a person can function ok enough but it has a pesky, mosquito like tenacity. Then you think, “it will work itself out”, or “I just need to warm up and stretch”, or “is this another sign of getting older and wiser?”

Rationalization is an inexpensive therapy for humans to deal with unfortunate things in the short term. However, it is not the best philosophy for the long term. Well, I soldiered on avoiding medical co-pays until I couldn’t take it anymore.  Also, ibuprofen was not meant to be a tic-tac substitute. I thought of two things – 1. Finally going to a doctor and 2. A therapeutic massage!

Therapeutic massage for injury relief

I called Nimbus Massage and scheduled a 90 minute appointment. I had never thought that I, as a female, would be needing a massage for groin injury relief. After many Google searches on the topic, one would think the groin only exists with the male population. This is only a slight exaggeration as the internet does not have much for female groin injury relief in a serious medical sense.

Now I would like to reiterate that this “twinge”, which was causing pain to the point of not wanting to walk, was located near a personal area. Also, my personal space bubble is large. Large enough that I will park my car to include an extra parking space between me and another vehicle. With massage, professionalism is a must.

The morning of my appointment, I hobbled in and discussed my “twinge” issue with my therapist. He took time to listen to my concerns, gently figured out the correct pressure, and isolated the problem area. After the massage I could walk again like I could before the holiday “twinge”. #betterthanibuprofen

The “twinge” is gone… The “twinge” is gone away…(apologies to B.B. King)

Fortunately for me, the actual “twinge” was a relatively minor injury and the pain issue was a result of the surrounding muscle tissue tightening up and compensating. My x-rays did not show any abnormalities. The best immediate relief was available through therapeutic massage and thankfully, this is in the Nimbus Massage wheelhouse!


You know you’re a geek when you unwind at the end of the day while listening to a lecture on the role of microglia in central sensitization and depression… Here’s a little outline of the lecture.

How does chronic pain work?

Some chronic pain, especially chronic pain syndromes, seems to stem from central sensitization. Central sensitization happens when the nervous system gets wound up and has trouble calming down, this can happen short-term or turn into a syndrome. Some ways that the system can go awry include:

  • Being overly sensitive and making pain signals stronger.
  • Reading normal signals, like temperature or pressure, as pain.
  • Firing up a bunch of nerve pathways that wouldn’t normally fire.
  • Not turning off the pain signal when no longer needed.

Sometimes people feel pain even when no obvious reason exists. In some cases an obvious reason exists, but people feel a higher level of pain than one would normally expect from it. And in some instances, pain persists after healing. Of course, all of these can occur together.

What is the link between mental health and chronic pain?

Chronic pain also happens to strongly coincide with depression, anxiety, and/or PTSD. People who have chronic pain and/or one of these mental health disorders are more likely to have the other. Statistics also show that people who have both struggle more with managing and improving their conditions. Science has yet to describe exactly how the interplay works.

What are microglia?

Microglia are one of several types of brain cells. These cells take care of the immune response in the brain. They scan for potential problems and then jump into action when they perceive a threat. They can actually change themselves depending on what action is needed– scanning, repairing, removing waste, and regenerating. Just like other parts of the immune system, repetitive trauma or perceived threats can sensitize these cells so that they over work. Unfortunately, when these cells are active for too long (neuroinflammation), they can weaken the brain.

Research indicates that microglia over work in chronic pain syndromes, depression, anxiety, and PTSD (and some other neurodegenerative conditions). 

So what can one do to calm this process?

As much as anyone with chronic pain or depression hates to hear it, exercise seems to help. Proper diet and the right balance of nutrients can also have a positive effect. Mind/body approaches- like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing have led to reduced neuroinflammation. Acupuncture has a few studies behind it. Of course, certain pharmaceuticals seem to help as well. Hopefully, massage will join this list, but no one has studied it yet. Overall the current thinking seems to point to an integrative approach to care.


Research articles Chronic Pain & Depression Chronic Pain & PTSD Chronic Pain & Mental Health Conditions Microglia & Depression


Sciatica and piriformis syndrome both create pain in the low back, buttocks, and back of the leg. Often they bring numbness, tingling, or even weakness with them. Sometimes they make simple things such as walking, sitting, or driving a car painful and difficult prospects. 

Sciatica and piriformis syndrome in brief

Sciatica refers to pain arising from pressure on the sciatic nerve. This nerve travels from the lower spine, through the buttock, and down the leg to the foot. Disc problems in the lower back, spinal stenosis, and bone spurs are common culprits of pressure on the nerve. Typically, sciatica sends pain signals from the low back down the back of the leg and only occurs on one side of the body.

Piriformis syndrome comprises a set of muscular issues that cause sciatica-like symptoms. It gets its name from the piriformis muscle, which lies underneath the gluteus maximus, and crosses the back of the buttocks. This muscle can get tight, it can press on the sciatic nerve, and it can stress the joint. Sometimes people can have both a bone and a muscle pressing on the nerve.

How massage can help

Generally speaking, massage can help ease pain. In our experience with sciatica and piriformis syndrome, massage helps the tight muscle part of the equation the most. It has much less influence on pain from a bone or disc problem.

If a tight piriformis muscle is the main culprit, massage can make a significant difference in alleviating the pain. Softening the tension can relieve tender spots in the buttocks and referred pain to the leg, back, and groin. It can also ease pressure on the nerve itself and allow the joint to align properly.

If the pain stems from a bone or disc problem, massage may not help as much. At most, in our experience, it allows for temporary relief. Of course, this type of sciatic pain can lead to muscle tension around the nerve pathway that can increase pain. In this case, massage can help alleviate the additional pain and sense of tension. So, massage might still benefit people who have sciatica, just not as fully as it can help those who have piriformis syndrome.

When sciatica arises during pregnancy, the same rules apply. The more the pain stems from muscular tension, the better massage helps. In some cases, however, the pain never fully resolves until the end of the pregnancy.

Massage for sciatica or piriformis syndrome will focus on the posterior hip of the affected side, that is the butt. The therapist may also work the low back and leg depending on specific symptoms and time. The therapist may employ a range of techniques including focused direct pressure massage, light gliding massage, and stretching. Sometimes, the client wears sports attire and does movements along with the massage therapist. Most typically, clients use massage as part of an integrative care approach that also involves their medical team and physical therapist.



For those struggling with Fibromyalgia, the added demands and stresses of the holiday season can lead to one that is anything but happy as pain and fatigue levels often flare. How can one navigate the season while minimizing any additional discomfort?

by Susan Fishell

In the seven years that I have lived with Fibromyalgia, I have learned that wisely choosing my activities, enlisting help, taking shortcuts, using magnesium products and scheduling a mandatory rest period can make a significant difference in managing my pain levels. It is my hope that these tips will be of benefit to anyone living with chronic pain who is struggling to make it through the season.

Pick your favorites

The first and most important tip I have learned is to choose my activities carefully. A wise friend recently suggested that I choose the activities that are most life-giving to me. What activities energize you, bring you joy, feed your spirit? Whenever possible, choose those over the ones that you dread doing, that suck you dry or stress you out. Save your limited energy for that favorite activity that brings the holiday to life for you. For me it is sitting in a sanctuary filled with white lights listening to the reading of the Christmas story or a family outing in our old pick-up to find the “perfect” tree. Perhaps for you it is cooking a favorite family recipe or watching much loved holiday movie. Whatever it is, always expend your energy on those about which you are passionate and eliminate those that fill you with stress.

Accept a hand

Secondly, enlist help and take shortcuts. Don’t be afraid to admit that you can’t tackle all the holiday projects that you used to do. Because I loved writing individual notes in all my Christmas cards, it took me several seasons of arm and shoulder flare-ups before I reluctantly admitted to myself that I could no longer manage this activity without help. Now my husband types on the PC for me the letter that I write and also assists in the addressing of the envelopes. Baking and cooking with all of the stirring, chopping, measuring and cleaning up, can easily flare arms, shoulders and back muscles. After learning this fact the hard way,  I have sought over the last few years the assistance of my teen neighbors, my son’s girlfriend and my daughter-in-law to assist in baking my Christmas sweets. They go home with bags of freshly baked goodies, and I have a supply to share at family gatherings or to give as gifts to friends – a win-win for us all. For me, nothing can cause pain to arise quicker than a shopping trip especially if it requires carrying items in my arms or pushing a cart.  Skip it all by shopping on-line or taking advantage of some of the new services that retailers are offering where they shop for you and then deliver your purchases to your waiting vehicle. Forego wrapping presents by using gift bags or better yet give a gift card or money gift which eliminates either altogether. Instead of decorating your entire house, focus on the room where you spend the most time. If you put your mind to it, I am sure there are many more shortcuts that you can devise to conserve your energy and prevent painful muscle fatigue.

Self care

Next, magnesium! Over the past several years, I have discovered the amazing properties of this essential mineral which relaxes muscles and can alleviate pain. Many Fibromyalgia patients are deficient in it so have your doctor check your levels if you have never done so. Whenever I begin to experience the muscle soreness that feels like you have just completed a 10k race, I pull out my Epsom Salts and go soak in a bath filled with them. Not only is it soothing and relaxing, but these soaks plus the application of a magnesium lotion or oil eliminate my soreness within 24-48 hours. Ancient Minerals and Life-Flo are two providers of these products. If you have sensitive skin, apply these products sparingly at first as they may sting when initially applied and can have a drying impact if used for a prolonged period of time.  If you have your doctor’s approval, a magnesium supplement may also benefit you. I use a magnesium citrate supplement called Natural Calm as it is more easily absorbed by the body than the magnesium oxide pills that you often find in the vitamin aisle. I mix the Natural Calm with water to make a fizzy flavored liquid that I drink about two hours before bed. As a bonus the magnesium may help your sleep too. Too much magnesium, however, can act as a laxative so it is important to discuss with your doctor the appropriate dosage for you to take.


Lastly, accept that you may need more rest time as you juggle the holiday’s demands and stresses. Allot a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes per day for relaxing your muscles in a place free of distractions and interruptions. If you are not a napper, listen to the music of the season, watch a Christmas movie (Did anyone say Hallmark channel?) or listen to a holiday story on-line or on CD. Make this time a top priority as it is hard to enjoy the holidays if you are in constant pain.

If you find all of the above a pipe dream because it takes all of your energy just to roll out of bed in the morning knowing that every movement brings pain, I get it. I have been there and I pray I never go back!  Instead, take a baby step. Make soaking in an Epsom salt bath your first priority. Push yourself to do something easy and enjoyable like a drive to look at Christmas lights and decorations. Don’t let Fibromyalgia win by robbing you of the joy of Christmas! You can get better. I am living proof of that. There is hope! After all, isn’t that what the Christmas story is all about?  A tiny baby is born bringing with him hope for us all including the hope of healing and relief from pain. Hold onto that hope now as you begin the baby steps that can lead to a relatively normal life that while not entirely pain-free is significantly better than the place you find yourself now. Take that first step!


Breaking the law

California prosecutors recently filed a false advertising lawsuit against lifestyle brand Goop. The online retailer, helmed by Gwyneth Paltrow, settled for $145,000. The prosecutors specifically listed three wellness products in the filing.

Quite frankly, the products listed, seemed to be marketed in a manner consistent with wellness advertising everywhere. That is, the description of the products included possible health benefits. Two yoni stones said to “balance hormones,” amongst other things, and an essential oil blend claiming to “prevent depression.”

The lawsuit stated this amounted to false advertising using unfounded claims. No medical evidence exists to support or contradict the purported health benefits of the products. Other wellness-related companies, such as DoTerra and Young Living, have had similar legal trouble. Both were reprimanded for representing their essential oils as pharmaceuticals.

Scientific Evidence

While wellness products and complementary therapies gain popularity, research remains elusive. Many such health-related offerings stem from traditional healing practices from around the world. Practices that pre-date modern medicine. However, these types of remedies rarely have strong (if any) scientific research to support them.

Massage therapy, for one, still has a long way to go in terms of quality evidence. For example, the massage industry has claimed for years that massage decreases the stress hormone cortisol. In fact, the current body of evidence does not support this claim. A 2010 meta-analysis concluded that the evidence at that time was inconclusive at best. A quick search of studies since then still show conflicting results. Some positive, some neutral, and some negative.

Massage therapy carries with it a long history of other unsupported claims including:

  • Massage releases toxins, which has never been studied. Indeed “toxin” has not even been defined in this context.
  • Massage increases circulation, which has conflicting evidence.
  • Massage improves immunity, which has not been well studied. (Although promising preliminary studies exist.)
  • Massage releases endorphins, which only has one study of 12 people behind it.

Massage therapists do not typically make these statements about massage with the intention of deceiving. In fact, many schools still teach their students these “facts.” As research improves and the body of evidence grows, marketing language should, hopefully, become more accurate as well.

Clear Language

In our own content, we try to be very careful and clear around our language. In keeping with scientific practices, when discussing the benefits of our services, we use the term “can” when a benefit has some decent research behind it. We use the term “may” when less evidence exists. If almost zero research exists we try to highlight that and discuss instead the tradition or theory of the work. We avoid concrete terms such as “proven” or “will,” because nothing is 100%. We also provide links to published research when applicable.

Wellness products can be a little trickier. We only carry products that we believe will have some benefit to our clients whether for pain relief, stress relief, or just plain fun. Certainly, not all products have gone through rigorous scientific testing to support their efficacy. However, we do need to describe the intended use of the product.

Foam rollers actually do have some supporting research. The Cranio Cradle and Thera Cane do not. Some essential oils have research into their effects, most don’t. In these cases, we try to use phrases such as “intended for headache relief” or “people use this product to boost energy.” Therefore highlighting the benefit without making a health claim.

No Fear

It can get tricky, and we probably do it wrong sometimes. However we make a concerted effort to use accurate and clear communication in our marketing. Some health advertising tactics we have seen seem quite unethical. For example, fear-based campaigns, characterizing something as a “miracle cure,” or capitalizing on people’s insecurities.

At Nimbus, we are about helping people in their wellness journeys. We like to think of ourselves as  warm, welcoming, and reassuring. We like to think of Nimbus as a safe, supportive, knowledgeable resource for complementary care. And we think what we do helps people in a meaningful way without us having to embellish. No gimmicks, no fads, no fakery.

© Copyright 2016 Nimbus Massage. All rights reserved.