Rob Zukowski is a New York State LMT, certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, a Certified Medical Massage Therapist and holds a degree in Occupational Studies, with a focus on massage therapy, from the prestigious Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences. He has advanced training in sports massage, various relaxation therapies, and training in multi-therapeutic approaches to massage for oncology.

In addition to private practice, his experience includes being a massage therapist, lead therapist and member relationships manager in assorted fitness centers, spas, clinics and holistic healing settings and working in corporate wellness environments. Rob also works as a client services manager at a healing center, authors his own column on the subject of complementary and alternative medicine in a national HIV/AIDS magazine, works in student outreach and lectures on therapeutic massage for various pathologies.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Breath Work & Its Benefits

One of my biggest thrills is finding new ways to take care of myself. Perhaps that makes me a complementary and alternative medicine nerd. If that is the case, so be it.
Certainly, there are times when I see another professional to take care of me. I never give myself a ninety-minute massage, nor would I perform self-acupuncture or chiropractic work, even if I was trained and licensed to do so. Yes, I am constantly amazed by what a licensed practitioner in the holistic heath field can do for me, but I am equally amazed at what I can learn to do for myself. I am in awe of what our bodies can do for themselves. Several months ago I started to see someone who practiced conscious breath work, also called conscious breathing. There are a lot of different types of breath work with a variety of names, but whatever you call it, it is generally a universal term for different conventional medical and holistic therapeutic methods to improve the breathing function and thus enhance different aspects of your wellness.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Reiki & HIV Wellness

In the past, I have discussed different forms of energy work. Shiatsu, for example, being one of them. There are many different kinds of energy-based modalities to choose from. What I find most interesting is that while they all work with energy, generally, in so
me capacity, each modality works with the energy differently. Energy healing is being woven into patient services and treatment programs for people with cancer, fibromyalgia, pain, and depression. Like many other forms of complementary and alternative medicine, Reiki is now viewed by many as an effective, accepted alternative practice in mainstream America, where at least 1.2 million adults have tried the energy healing therapy. More than sixty U.S. hospitals have adopted Reiki as part of patient services, according to a UCLA study, and Reiki education is offered at 800 hospitals.

Read more at A&U Magazine... 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Massage and Muscle Recovery

There are various types of massage therapy – deep tissue, Swedish, sports and many more. The type of session you have should be discussed with your massage therapist and based upon your specific therapeutic goals. While massage therapy is often both seen and advertised as a means of relaxation, which has health benefits all its own, there are other physiological benefits, such as muscle recovery, that we should not ignore. Muscle recovery is just one of the benefits that can enhance your workout, help prevent injury and assist you in reaching your goals.

As a whole, our bodies require nutrition and oxygen to thrive and survive. Our muscles, specifically, are no different. After any workout, muscles can become inflamed and there is always some level of tearing of muscle fibers. But, how do muscles repair themselves? How do they recover? Nutrition and oxygen are needed. How do we increase nutrition and oxygen to a specific area? Improved circulation – and massage therapy is known to increase circulation.

In addition to enhanced nutrition and oxygenation to muscle tissue, there have been many studies regarding the impact of massage therapy on a cellular level and relating to muscle tissue recovery. One such study, for example, put participants through a difficult workout to examine muscle tissue. In order to see the impact of massage therapy, samples of muscle tissue were taken before and after the exercise. The study revealed that massage reduced the production of something called cytokines. This compound plays a substantial role in the process of inflammation. Massage also stimulated something called mitochondria. These cells, which live in the muscle, convert glucose into the energy essential for muscle cell function and repair.

In another study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, strength and proprioception were assessed in two groups - massage participants and non-massage participants. Proprioception, by the way, is our ability and awareness to sense where our body parts are in space. It’s how we place our foot on the ground to walk without stomping with every step and how we reach to scratch our noses without punching ourselves in the face. Proprioception is important for both injury prevention and the expression of strength and technique.

The results of this study showed improvement in levels of proprioception in the group that received massage after their workout. In addition, muscular strength analysis showed strength was greater in the group that received the massage as well.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Guided Imagery

Welcome to 2017. First and foremost, I wish each of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. May the coming days be rich in wellness.
Without question, one of the most common conversations at this time of year centers around resolutions. Many of us see January the first as an opportunity to refocus and reach new heights. Everyone wants to know what big plans you have and what big changes you plan to make in the New Year. Everyone is discussing the goals that they wish to achieve and the accomplishments that they wish to make in the next 365 days.
I am a firm believer that any random day, of any week, of any month of the year is stellar time to make positive changes in your life, but, it’s a tradition to focus more heartily on those goals using the coming of a new year as a marker. The question is, how do we reach those goals and accomplish the various things we set out to do.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Road to Wellness

Every morning I wake up and go to the medicine cabinet. Inside it are the pills for my high blood pressure. Really, it’s all a very simple process when we look at things from a conventional medicine point of view. My doctor runs some tests, sees some numbers and prescribes a pill. The label says take one capsule by mouth daily. Again, a simple process. Whole medicine, is not quite that simple. It is a very personal journey that one embarks upon out of a need to treat not just the physical body, but the mind, the spirit, the energy and the soul as well.
It would be wonderful if we could see our physician or pharmacist, tell them what we think, we feel, we lack or suffer from, and get a prescription for tai chi, aromatherapy, or meditation. The truth is that sometimes it’s not quite that simple. But starting down a path of whole medicine is exciting. Are there obstacles? Certainly. There is research to do. There is trial and error. But it is a journey well worth it. It is taking some matters into your own hands and empowering yourself toward enhanced wellness. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Aromatherapy & HIV

Essential Oils:  Aromatherapy may offer a host of possible benefits, from destressing to boosting immunity. 

The use of essential oils for healing, both emotional and physical, has been a part of the holistic wellness landscape for a very long time. In fact, some evidence suggests that the practice of using essential oils for medicinal purposes dates back around 6,000 years and has origins across the globe in places such as Greece, China, Egypt, India, and Rome—just to name a few. The word aromatherapy may imply that inhalation is the singular use of aromatic oils. This is not always the case. Certain oils can be applied to the skin and others even ingested. Of course, this depends on the type of practitioner you see and your specific needs and goals. Personally, mint and lavender are a part of my own aromatic rituals. Not only do I apply them to my body and use the scent, but I make tea from them. Mint is known for its positive effects on digestion and lavender is known to potentially reduce anxiety and stress, aid in sleep, and is said to possess anti-inflammatory properties. No matter how you intend to use essential oils, it is of the utmost importance that you work with a trained, experienced professional. There are dosages, contraindications, dilutions, allergies, drug interactions, and more that must be taken into consideration.

Read more at A&U Magazine

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tai Chi & Immune Function

Tai chi, a good fit for all fitness levels, may improve immune function.

Some years ago, I recall walking through Madison Square Park in Manhattan and seeing a group of people gathered in the grass. Each was performing identical actions and moving at a slow, rhythmic self-pace. In the midst of the usual New York City hustle and bustle, they seemed peaceful and unaffected by their surroundings. I stayed and watched for a while and spoke to one of the group members when they were done. I learned that they were practicing Tai Chi.
I have found that the specific history of Tai Chi varies depending on where you do your research and who you talk to, but many will agree that the art is centuries-old, has origins in traditional Chinese medicine and deep roots in martial arts. While Tai Chi may have begun, in part, as a method of self-defense from external attacks, many people practice it today strictly for its health benefits—perhaps a method of internal defense? While more research is needed, and, I believe, warranted, there is evidence that suggests a variety of health benefits from practicing Tai Chi, many of which may be of some importance to people living with HIV/AIDS.