Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tips for Giving an at-home Massage

When is the last time you treated yourself to a massage? A deep, or even quick one to help induce relaxation and melt away the day’s stress? Even though they host so many perks, it’s a habit that few stick with on a regular basis. Whether they’re heading to the salon or having their significant other perform them at home.

The fact is, however, the latter is far more budget (and schedule) friendlier. And easier to do than you might think. 

To give a great massage at home, without the training, follow these simple tips.

Angle matters. Have your significant other lie on the bed or couch while you stand. If there’s not enough room between you, you won’t be able to reach or apply necessary pressure. 

Next, communicate. Ask your partner to tell you when to give more pressure, what feels best, and so on. It’s likely you can watch them sink deeper into a relaxed state when you hit the right stress-release spot. But ask to make sure, especially through the first few massages. (And if they don’t want to hear it during, take a few minutes after to hash it out.)

Apply even pressure. Might seem easy, but pay attention to what your hands are doing at all times. It’s a skill that will get easier with time and allow you to earn a feel for the craft.

Don’t skimp. Massage evenly throughout the body. Whether your main focus is the neck, back, or a sore leg – be sure to hit all muscles and tendons in that area. (Don’t worry, if something hurts or tickles, they’ll tell you.)

Set a timer. When giving the massage, it’s always easier to make it shorter than the muscles need. (And when getting, you want it to last longer.) Set a timer to ensure you’re spending the proper amount of time on each section, and are best approaching the healing/relaxation process. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Changing Weather Patterns and your Sleep Habits

The outside temperature has always had an effect on just how well we’re able to sleep. That’s a pattern that’s always been true. Winter and early nights generally bring on deep bouts of sleep. While hot, sticky days can make rest hard to obtain. Eventually we become used to the weather, even if it does take a few weeks to do so. But when it’s constantly sling-shotting back and forth, it’s even harder to prep for bed. Knowing what layers of clothing to wear, how cool to set the thermostat, whether or not you should turn on a fan, and so on.

These unpredictable weather patterns are especially common in the Midwest. Where weather can fluctuate drastically, even within a single day. Just because it was hot that day, doesn’t mean it will be hot that night, and so on. 

However, such large variations in weather can also affect how you sleep. How well, at what time, clothing choice, thickness of sheets, and so on. Leaving you to either go on a whim each night, or to be constantly checking the weather – and even then, the body can make adjustments we don’t even know about. 

To regulate yourself, even when the climate has a mind of its own, consider taking charge of the few factors you can control. First off, stick to your routine. If you generally shower before bed, continue to do so at the same time each night – even if it stays light later into the evening. You should also continue lying down to sleep at your same time, even if that means reading or watching TV first. 

Account for temperature changes with the thermostat, or by wearing thicker or thinner PJs each night. A bedroom fan can also make a world of difference.

To avoid losing sleep, even through drastic changes, remember these simple constants to help improve everyday routine. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tips for Moving Without Risking your Health

If you’re like most people moving homes, chances are you have a lot of belongings. Rooms full of items and necessities – years of accumulation filling up your entire home. Which is great for whenever you need something obscure; you might even pat yourself on the back for having held onto this or that. But when it comes time to move, you’re not nearly as excited about that random object you found from 10 years back. Instead, you’re ready to downsize and clean out.

Whether or not you actually get rid of items is up to you. However, when it comes to the moving part, there’s plenty of work to be done. Most of which is heavy, unpleasant, and downright time consuming. You can even cause injuries when lifting too much weight, or without giving muscles the proper time to recuperate. 

Relocating in a Back-Friendly Manner

To avoid injury, especially for those who generally don’t lift, remember a few simple rules.

First, pack it light. If you have a large book collection, consider filling boxes that are half full of books, half sweatshirts. Or towels, or yarn, or stuffed animals – whatever it is that will help even out the weight. The same can be done with other heavy items, like dishes or glassware. Desks and dressers can have their drawers removed (or at the very least, emptied).

Next, lift it right. With the legs, not the back. Don’t pick up anything that’s too heavy for you – have someone else do it instead. Or enlist the help of a dolly for safe movement. 

Finally, hire it done. Whether that be with a moving company, or offering up the neighborhood boys free dinner for loading or unloading a truck, it can save you some serious grief later on. 

Avoid ill-advised behavior when moving for a smooth transition that won’t cause injury. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Are These Symptoms Causing your Insomnia?

So you can’t sleep – a terrible punishment for anyone. Especially those who can’t sleep on the norm. It’s not an every once an awhile thing. Tossing and turning is their every night, leading to unrested days and cloudy or irritable behavior. Over time, it’s a condition that’s known as insomnia. 

But did you know there are a number of different causes for this unwelcome trait? Medical and outside factor alike, these symptoms band together – a process that keeps you awake through all hours of the night. 

Medical Conditions That Cause Insomnia

  • Back pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Nasal congestion or inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Gastrointestinal issues or pains
  • Acid reflux and/or GERD
  • Recent surgery or long-standing pains
  • Twitching or neurological issues that keep you from lying still

Non-medical causes can also cause similar insomnia patterns, such as anxiety, stress, or simply psyching yourself out. The more you think about how much sleep you’re not getting, the less amount of sleep you’re able to actually get. Caffeine is known to keep folks up, while a heavy meal too close to bed time can keep the digestive system working on overdrive, a fact that makes it difficult to rest. 

Determining which of these factors is causing you to stay awake, however, is the best way to cure them once and for all. Or to create the most viable plan for getting better sleep. Naturally, and without the need for narcotics or drugs that come with side effects. 

If you’re suffering from the inability to sleep, talk to your doctor or ask to be referred to a sleep specialist. With a few questions and/or tests, they can help narrow down what’s keeping you up. But more importantly, they can help you fix the problem once and for all. 

Be sure and check back in for even more sleep-related news.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Celebrate Mother’s Day with free shipping!

Mother’s Day is just a few days out – which means it’s the perfect time to take advantage of our holiday sale. Spend $40 (on Mom, or on you) and get free shipping! That’s $10 less than our regular offer. While still coming with our everyday Comfort 30-Day Guarantee, giving Mom 30 days to test out all your latest shopping gear. 

This sale is not only practical, it’s also the perfect way to show Mom just how much you care – by giving her the gift of comfort.

There’s even plenty of ways to say thanks. Get her a new pillow so she can have better neck support while sleeping. Grab a seat cushion to help her back while she’s at work (perfect for the Mom who works in an office). Stock up on a neck pillow for all her travels. Or go all out and get her a wedge system, such as the Flip Pillow or BackMax, to give her a versatile way to get cozy and to eliminate pain. 

And with free shipping, it’s the perfect time to buy. Get a gift for Mom, Grandma, Aunts, Mother-in-laws, and more. Contour Living products are great for any mother in your life – even moms-to-be! (Check out our previous blog for a low down on all our favorite pregnancy comfort products.)

While you’re at it, you can even stock up on a gift for yourself. Just because you can! The savings are simply too good to pass up, no matter who’s on the shopping list. 

To take advantage of this deal, enter the code word MOTHER at checkout. It’s good until May 15, so you can save, even if you’re shopping a few days behind schedule. 

Start shopping today or to take a look at Contour’s selection, here

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Products to ease your pregnancy growing pains

Growing another person is no easy business. It’s nine full months of eating, prepping, and planning for a brand new human to come into the world. And oftentimes that means being uncomfortable – no matter how comfortable you try and become. With the excess weight (especially when it’s unbalanced), boating, constant sickness, and any other discomfort of being pregnant, it’s simply hard to ease the body into the resting state that you so hard want to achieve. 

Whether you’re experiencing actual pains or just frustrations, there are plenty of products designed just for you. And available just in time for Mother’s Day! (Or rather, Mother-to-be Day.)

Pillows, such as the Flip Pillow and L Pillow offer great relief. Adjust and turn as needed in order to rotate support and place cushioning right where you need it most. While the Back Wedge will help ease spinal pressure – perfect for reading in bed or relaxing and watching TV. 

When sitting, the Kabooti Cushion will displace weight, and ease pain off of the tailbone, which can become more severe with pregnancy. 

And, for extreme cases – which is to say toward the end of your pregnancy – enlist the help of the BackMax Plus. A full body pain relief solution. Rearrange in order to reduce pressure, add comfort, or simply give the back a break. It also comes in a smaller version, the MiniMax, for a more portable or affordable version. 

Finally, to-be moms can gain leg and back relief with the Leg Pillow and the Double Back. Each of which is placed between the legs to provide alignment. While sleeping, or just when resting throughout the day. 

Being pregnant can be rough, especially when trying to sleep. Treat yourself this Mother’s Day (or any day) and get some much needed help from our Contour faves. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Could you be at Risk for Sciatica? And Other Things Your Backside is Telling You

More often than not, our body is smarter than we realize. Rather than acting up for no reason, its pains and aches, even muscle movements, are trying to tell us something. Early warning signs that something is not as it should be. At yet we ignore them time and time again. 

Rather than assuming you slept wrong, or have a wonky pain that’s a one-time thing, consider listening to your body the next time it lets you know something isn’t quite right. 

One of the most telling areas is actually located in the rear – yes really! As it hosts weight (while sitting) or helps even it out and stay upright (while standing), its pains are associated with muscles or other nearby areas of the body. Regular or intense pains can be a cause for concern and should be checked out by a doctor. They can indicate sciatica, a pinched nerve, bad bed or chair support, poor circulation, improper alignment, and more.

Which is why it’s so important to listen to your rear. Pain simply means it’s trying to communicate, and it’s your job to help figure out what that is. That also means symptoms can be caught early on, eliminating the chance at developing more problematic. 

If you’re unsure as to whether your main might be a fluke, it’s a good idea to start keeping track. Keep a notebook or electronic list of dates and times that pains occur. List intensities, as well as how long they last. If a pattern begins to develop, or you have pains more often than you realized, it’s likely time to schedule an appointment. 

Professional insight can also allow you to get a better handle on back or rear communication. Consider scheduling an appointment once you have a better handle on symptoms and schedule.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Improve Mattress Comfort with the Memory Foam Topper

Ready to sleep like a dream? Without spending a fortune? No matter your reasoning for wanting to upgrade, there is an easy, affordable solution: a mattress topper. It’s an addition that can adhere to all types of beds, all sizes, and comes in a variety of preferences. For instance, if you want a softer bed but your spouse likes sleeping firm, get a topper for half of the bed. Or find an in-between topper for the entire model that can help compromise on both sides of the spectrum. 

Mattress covers can also add incredible amounts of comfort and support. Even if your bed is perfectly new and respectable, this extra layer can bring bone and muscle alignment throughout the entire night. It will also help lengthen the lifespan of your mattress, reducing wear and tear and how weight settles. 

Why Try the Cloud Memory Foam Mattress Topper?

This product not only comes with a Comfort Guarantee, meaning it can be returned for a full 90 days after purchase, but is specifically for a better sleep experience. It’s three layers of complete memory-having, comfort-giving foams. All to allow you as much cushion as possible, in a design that won’t break down over time.  

Layer one – Soft Touch Memory Foam. Made of plush, space-age memory foam, this is perhaps our favorite part of all. It molds to your body’s exact shape and size, creating a cradled sleeping surface. 

Layer two – Yellow Support Insert. You guessed it, this layer adds support where you need it most: the waist, lower back, and hips.

Layer three – Firm Blue Base. Another layer for support, this final section ensures the topper won’t lose integrity or sink with weight. Its firm material holds everything together and makes it last.

Ready to start sleeping on your very own Cloud Mattress Topper? Click to order or learn more today. Adjustable for all bed sizes!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

6 Reasons you Should Sleep for your Skin

Though we often take it for granted, skin is actually the largest organ of the body. It keeps us intact, holds out allergens and other stressors, and helps hold everyone together, literally. And that’s only the beginning of what skin has to offer.

Aside from nutrients and plenty of moisture, however, one of the most important things our skin needs is sleep. By getting the proper amount of rest – something we need to function anyway, the skin, too, can greatly improve upon its health. Including aspects such as:

6. Improving the Immune System

Did you know a large function of the immune system runs through the skin? A lack of rest doesn’t allow the epidermis to perform those same duties with efficiency. 

5. Beauty Rest

It’s not just a myth. Getting better sleep helps you look better, allowing the skin an extra ability to glow and reflect more attractive sections of light. 

4. Slowing the Aging Process

Deep and regular bouts of sleep allows the body to look and feel younger. In contrast, a bad night’s rest can increase that process, something no one wants to encourage. 

3. Jump Starting the Metabolism

Regular sleep can also improve one’s ability to burn calories in a resting state. Staying awake, however, can do the opposite and actually slow down the metabolism.

2. Getting Rid of Skin Conditions

Whether you suffer from blemishes, eczema, or some other skin irritability, sleep can help make it better. This works to let the body to cure itself with rest, rather than stressing while awake, only irritating the situation even further.

1. Rejuvenating During Sleep

Yes really. Skin, just like the rest of the body, needs the opportunity to catch up on down time and relaxation. Through regular and recommended sleep, it can help toward all of the above, and more. Just from getting your daily night’s sleep.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Want Better Foot Health? Let Your Shoes do the Work

The body is a complicated piece of machinery. When one area is acting up or in pain, it’s often felt in an additional body part – whether or not it’s close to the trigger. Which also means, when one area is improved by way of comfort and or workability, additional sections also feel that vast adjustment. And they react for the better. 

One of the easiest ways to cash in on these “I help you, you help me” bodily situations is through the feet. By offering better support and stabilization, you can create a situation in which the feet are healthier … and helping outside areas become healthy as well. Such as the back, legs, hips, and more. 

It works by first ensuring that your walking surface is steady and firm, allowing your weight to be evenly displaced. When out of whack, continued walking (or running or standing) will cause even further problems on up. But when steady and in place, that same momentum is repeated.

Shoes that Support

Get started by adjusting your shoes. Buy a pair that is made to fit your foot shape, especially around the arch. Inserts can also do wonders for comfort as well as logistics. You should also make sure the type of shoe you’re wearing is best slated for your feet. For instance, flip-flops require the toes to grip and the heels to “flop.” High heels push all the weight forward, and flats rarely offer cushion. 

If you’re not wearing tennis shoes, consider brands that specialize in foot cradling. Or, talk to your doctor, even a shoe expert, about what styles are best meant for your foot shape. 

There’s plenty to be gained from wearing the “right” type of shoe. Plan your next shopping trip to start cashing in on better foot health.