Monthly Archives: July 2011

Gastroesophageal Reflux

Osteopathy relieves gastric acid reflux, low back pain, and muscle stiffness

DISCLAIMER: Names of patients have been changed and cer­tain details about their cases have been edited to pro­tect their pri­vacy. The authors only use real names if patients give prior approval in writing.

Heart­burn, Gas­troe­sophageal Reflux (GER), and Gas­troe­sophageal Reflux Dis­ease (GERD)

What is GERD?

Gas­troe­sophageal reflux dis­ease (GERD) is a more seri­ous form of gas­troe­sophageal reflux (GER), which is com­mon. GER occurs when the lower esophageal sphinc­ter (LES) opens spon­ta­neously, for vary­ing peri­ods of time, or does not close prop­erly and stom­ach con­tents rise up into the esoph­a­gus. GER is also called acid reflux or acid regur­gi­ta­tion, because diges­tive juices—called acids—rise up with the food. The esoph­a­gus is the tube that car­ries food from the mouth to the stom­ach. The LES is a ring of mus­cle at the bot­tom of the esoph­a­gus that acts like a valve between the esoph­a­gus and stomach.

Pic­ture of acid reflux anatomy

When acid reflux occurs, food or fluid can be tasted in the back of the mouth. When refluxed stom­ach acid touches the lin­ing of the esoph­a­gus it may cause a burn­ing sen­sa­tion in the chest or throat called heart­burn or acid indi­ges­tion. Occa­sional GER is com­mon and does not nec­es­sar­ily mean one has GERD. Per­sis­tent reflux that occurs more than twice a week is con­sid­ered GERD, and it can even­tu­ally lead to more seri­ous health prob­lems. Peo­ple of all ages can have GERD. source:

How Osteopa­thy helped Mdm Wong

Madam Wong was diag­nosed with gas­tric acid reflux, a chronic dis­ease in the diges­tive sys­tem which gave her fre­quent sore throats not relieved with med­ica­tion. Her doc­tors advised that she sleep in a bed with a 45-degree incline or have surgery to relieve her symp­toms. Madam Wong decided not to undergo surgery and in the last seven years, she has learned to cope by avoid­ing cer­tain foods. Trav­el­ling is the worst time for her since it pre­vents her from sleep­ing in her usual inclined bed, which aggra­vates her gas­tric acid reflux.

Besides this, Madam Wong also suf­fered from spinal stiff­ness. She avoided cer­tain activ­i­ties and did not bend for­ward as much when she did her errands to pre­vent the discomfort.

When she first came to OPRC, Madam Wong needed treat­ment for the low back pain that she was expe­ri­enc­ing. Ther­a­pists gave her osteo­pathic treat­ment and clin­i­cal mas­sage which relieved her pain and dis­com­fort. After sev­eral vis­its, she was able to bend for­ward eas­ily. She showed the great­est improve­ment from gen­tle osteo­pathic manip­u­la­tion which released the ten­sion around her diaphragm and stom­ach area.

Osteo­pathic treat­ment– abdom­i­nal mus­cle pal­pa­tion and treat­ment to release ten­sion of the diaphragm mus­cle help­ing to relieve gas­tric reflux

Madam Wong report that she now walks faster than her hus­band. She is able to sleep flat in her home and dur­ing her trav­els and finally she can bend for­ward with­out pain.

How does this exam­ple help you?

You don’t have to live with gas­tric reflux. It can affect other parts of your body.

Like most peo­ple, Madam Wong did not think that her gas­tric reflux can affect her spine. Although she suf­fered from low back stiff­ness before her dis­ease, the addi­tional mus­cle ten­sion on her ribs and spinal area made her feel even stiffer. It was like wear­ing per­ma­nent “corset” of tight mus­cles and feel­ing it con­strict on her spine. Also, because she had to sleep in an inclined posi­tion, it meant that the pres­sure on her low back joints and mus­cles increased.

Osteo­pathic manip­u­la­tion –releases ten­sion around the stom­ach mus­cle which also helps relieve back stiffness

Osteo­pathic treat­ment can also help you even after years of problems.

It did not take long to relieve Mdm Wong’s recent back pain but releas­ing seven years of addi­tional stiff­ness took time as her body and spine tight­ened up so much. The key aspect that unlocked her prob­lem was the under­stand­ing that the added ten­sion from the gas­tric reflux needed to be released with osteo­pathic manip­u­la­tion which then allowed her old back stiff­ness to get better.

Osteo­pathic manip­u­la­tion — gen­tle approach to effec­tively release fas­cial ten­sion around the lower chest and abdom­i­nal areas.

Osteo­pathic ass­es­ment can tai­lor the treat­ment appro­pri­ate to your needs.

Osteopa­thy can reduce the pain and stiff­ness through treat­ments tai­lor made for your needs. For instance, every patient that has gas­tric reflux will have the same symp­toms but the causes may vary. Our res­i­dent osteopaths will give you a thor­ough osteo­pathic exam­i­na­tion and talk to you about your lifestyle to iden­tify what causes your pain. This will include dis­cussing how your pos­ture, sports, and habits affect you. Our osteopaths will develop a cus­tom made treat­ment and well­ness plan for you based on this assess­ment to give you long-term relief.

What to do next if you have sim­i­lar symptoms?

Call 6327 8545  for an appoint­ment and we’ll do a thor­ough exam­i­na­tion to find out how we can relieve your symp­toms as soon as possible.

72 Amoy Street , Singapore 069891 / /

Patients are advised to see their doc­tor if the symp­toms are severe and require med­ical investigation.




Austin Massage, Massage therapy austin, deep tissue massage austin, austin deep tissue massage, massage austin texas, austin back pain massageOver the past week, I have seen a “mini-epidemic” — two new clients and email correspondence with a third — of a common but painful foot injury, plantal fasciitis. Living in Austin, with such an active outdoors culture, plantar fasciitis is one of the more common issues I treat. It is also one of the most common foot injuries in the United States.  As reported by Pubmed, two million Americans suffer from plantar fasciitis each year and 10% of the population over a lifetime.

Plantar fasciitis involves pain of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick fibrous band of connective tissue located on the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia attaches to the heel bone and extends along the sole of the foot towards the five toes. Its function is to help maintain the arch of the foot, and it acts as a powerful spring with a fundamental role in shock absorption and forward propulsion.

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Plantar fasciitis develops gradually and commonly starts as a dull, intermittent pain in the heel, mid-sole, or near the toes. The pain is worse early in the morning and tends to ease up once you move around a bit. When untreated it can progress to a sharp or stabbing pain. It may hurt when climbing stairs or after standing for long periods of time.   It is common for someone with plantar fasciitis to also suffer from knee pain. Plantar fasciitis can become a chronic condition that plagues people for years.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by stress to the soft tissue that supports the arch of the foot. It is possible to develop plantar fasciitis from an acute injury, although it is far more commonly a result of repetitive trauma to the foot from walking or running with poor gait mechanics.

Austin Barefoot Running, Austin deep tissue massage therapy, Austin running barefoot, barefoot running austin, barefoot runnerThe arch of the foot acts like a shock-absorbing spring. With proper walking or running mechanics, the arch absorbs and releases the impact of each step, preventing damage to the knees and hips. The problem that most people have is that they heel strike, a dysfunctional gait pattern developed due to previous injury or poor shoe selection.  When you heel strike, you bypass the natural spring of the arch, and the impact of each step is driven through your heel. This causes an ongoing series of micro traumas directly to the heel — where the plantar fascia attaches — and through the soft tissue of the knee and hip. The repeated stress and strain from each step you take can cause tiny tears in the ligaments and tendons and build restriction in the calf muscles.

Overweight individuals are more at risk of developing the condition due to the excess weight impacting on the foot.

There is no one single treatment for plantar fasciitis that works for everybody. I have had great success using a few different treatments together. I see the best results — by far — with deep tissue massage therapy. On average it takes three or four massage sessions for a client to be pain free.  When my clients do self-myofascial release, flexibility and corrective exercise, and buy new shoes, they generally are able to get back into the activities they love within a matter of weeks.

If you do not have access to a skilled deep tissue massage therapist, you can utilize the following tools to help bring relief, although it may take a few weeks longer to get to 100%.

Self Myofascial Release:

Following the directions in the pictures below, place your body weight on the foam roller or ball over taut bands of muscle tissue that need to be released. For the best results, begin near the center of the body and slowly work away from the center of the body.

Relax your body, breathe, and slowly roll through the length of the muscle. Your muscles will naturally tense up, especially when you hit a trigger point.  Ease into it and allow yourself to relax.

If you find a painful spot, stop and visualize the soft tissue as melting butter and the foam roller as a hot knife. Allow pressure into the tissue and within 30-60 seconds you will notice a significant reduction in pain. Once the pain reduces (20-30%), move on to the next painful spot and repeat.

Spend between 3-5 minutes on each side. It is very important that you spend an equal amount of time on both sides and that you work through each of the areas listed to gain the most out of self-myofascial release.


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Use a small ball, such as a golf ball.

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Place foam roller beneath calves. Slowly roll from the ankles to the knees

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Turn your body to work the inside and outside of the calves.

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Use a soft ball to perform self-trigger point therapy

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Place roller length-wise to your body. Bend your knee to 90 degrees with your inner thigh on the roller.

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Place roller beneath the top of the hip bone. Lie with one hip on the roller. Opposite hip is off the roller.

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Sit on the roller. Turn your body to one side. Massage through the entire gluteal area from the crack of your butt to the outside of your hip, top of the pelvis to the top of the thigh.

Stretch calves using a foam wedge
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Using a foam wedge, press heel into the ground and actively straighten your knee. Stretch to slight discomfort, NOT pain. Hold for 1-3 minutes each stretch

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Using a foam wedge, press heel into the ground and bend knee down and forward. Stretch to slight discomfort, NOT pain. Hold for 1-3 minutes each stretch

Because the way you walk or run is a large contributing factor, changing your shoe selection and changing the way you walk and run are huge keys to fixing the problems that caused plantar fasciitis.

Read What Happens to Our Foot When We Wear Traditional Running Shoes by Dr. Nicholas Campitelli to learn more about how shoes change your gait.

Reposted with Permission of Jesse James Retherford


The Role of Fascia on Muscle Stiffness and Pain

Did you wake up this morning with a stiff back? If so, the “Fuzz” could be the reason why.

Fascia a.k.a. “The Fuzz” is  a tough connective tissue that spreads throughout the entire body in a three-dimensional web from head to foot without interruption. The fascia surrounds every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel and organ in the body, all the way down to the cellular level.

Therefore, malfunction of the fascial system due to trauma, poor posture, repetitive activities, sitting for prolonged periods of time or inflammation can create a “binding” of the fascia. This binding of the fascia makes movement difficult and painful.

What is the role of Fascia:

  • It covers everything from head to toe (bone, organs, veins and muscle tissue)
  • It is needed for muscle contraction and relaxation
  • It creates an attachment surface for tendons and ligaments
  • It holds the body’s organs in place
  • It is vital for movements and helps transmit tension from muscle to tendon to bone and from ligament to bone
  • It is conduit for nerves, blood and lymph vessels as they pass through and between muscle

This short speech given by Dr. Gil Hedley, Ph.D (and really animated guy), discusses the accumulation of fascial fibrosis, or ‘fuzz’, which accumulates both within, and between fascial planes as a result of injury, lack of movement or postural patterns.

Is a Relaxation massage right for you?

If you have the feeling of being stressed out, unable to sleep, feeling a sense of being overwhelmed or depressed then a relaxation Swedish style massage may be what you need.

A relaxation massage is perfect for reducing stressRelaxation massage has the specific intention of moving body fluids (such as lymph and blood), nourishing cells, and removing wastes from cells, relaxing muscles and diminishing any pain. In the US, the most widely taught and practiced style of relaxation massage is Swedish massage, which employs five basic strokes: effleurage (gliding), petrissage (kneading and lifting), friction (moving the tissue layers underneath the skin), vibration, and percussion.

Benefits of relaxation massage.

Massage can treat many disorders like anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and insomnia. This occurs because massage prompts the release of endorphins, the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that produce feelings of wellbeing.

Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This is a lighter massage, your therapist will use long, flowing strokes designed to help the body to remove toxins, lactic acid and metabolic wastes, while increasing blood flow to these working muscles. Improved circulation is important for providing muscles with the nutrients, they need for optimal function and health.

Is Sports Therapy and Neuromuscular Re-Education the right massage for you?

It is if you are an athlete who is suffering from stiff joints and muscles. Sports therapy is a perfect match for individuals who play sports, run, bike or swim as an injury prevention program. Sports massage also plays a vital role for performance enhancement. And if, your past injuries have you suffering from inflammation, scar tissue or muscle adhesion’s; sports massage therapy is an effective tool for breaking these up.

Increase performance and reduce injuries with sports massageSports therapy combined with PNF stretching will enhance posture, body awareness and movement functions. Muscle energy techniques will also be used to treat those individuals with muscle pain and stiffness as well as those, who have suffered some sort of muscular injury. Movement re-education is generally intended to regain a sense of freedom, ease and lightness in the body for increase flexibility and performance.

Benefits of Sports re-education massage

Each person has a subtle, complex and unconscious perception of his or her own body. When you have pain and decreased range of motion, you adapt, your body image to fit that dysfunctional limitation by avoiding certain movement. When an area is injured, whether it’s muscle, connective tissue, fascia, tendon or some combination of these elements the body handles this trauma the only way it knows how, with inflammation. This is your natural body’s response to injury, the formation of inflammation is to immobilize the injured area. Your body does this as a way to protect itself.

The problem with this inflammation is it must be treated properly or adhesion’s will occur, this limits both strength and range of motion. The result is decreased performance due to limited R.O.M. in that injured limb or joint. And if you have a joint that is not stabilizing properly due to injury, you will lose mobility in another area/joint as your body tries to compensate.









Massage Techniques Used:

  • Myofascial Release
  • PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching
  • Muscle Energy Techniques
  • Muscle stripping
  • Cross-fiber friction

Is a Clinical massage right for you?

It is if you are suffering from pain, soft tissue injuries, muscle stiffness, painful trigger points, restricted range of motion, muscle dysfunction or if just getting out of bed is harder to do.

chronic pain syndromes caused by prolonged periods of immobilization

The primary focus of massage is to work on the soft tissues. A clinical massage utilizes techniques that focuses on soft tissue injuries and the connective tissues of your muscles called, fascia. While fascia is highly elastic, the problem with fascia is prolonged periods of immobilization. If you hold, your body in one position for long periods of time (computer users), your fascia will adapt to that length. And resist any attempt to return to its normal length thus making your muscles become stuck.

Injuries to your body also has the same effect. The resultant response to an injury is the formation of adhesion’s and scar tissue, without proper treatment of this scar tissue formation will result in decrease muscle function and movement.

We use a 4 step rehabilitation protocol for treating soft tissue injuries:

  1. Normalize soft tissue dysfunction
  2. Improve flexibility
  3. Restore proper movement patterns
  4. Strengthening and Conditioning (not in-house) we provide recommendations.

Benefits of Clinical Massage

Clinical massage can benefit anyone who is suffering from chronic pain, painful trigger points and muscle dysfunction. But may also include individuals, who have respiratory breathing problems, suffer from poor posture, have scar tissue formation from a recent surgery or not so recent surgery.

This is a deeper type of massage working the different layers of muscles, connective tissues and muscle adhesion’s. It is also used for de-activating painful trigger points to restore normal muscle function. So if you had massages from other “Spas” and were not satisfied clinical massage is for you. While not common some bruising and muscle soreness may occur.

Treat your low back pain with deep tissue massage.








Our Massage Rates:

  • 60 minute massage = $100


Pain Changes The Way We Move

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

Massage therapy can help with poor movement patterns and painPain is part of the evaluation process when you are presented with it in your daily life and activities. Your movements will be complicated, dysfunctional and any sustainable activity that requires strength, endurance or flexibility will not be possible. Pain changes motor control function, it does this by increasing or decreasing muscle activation.

Because of these changes in muscle activation, we alter movement patterns as a way to work around the muscle pain or injury. Even after the recovering from the initial injury and with no current pain present this altered movement pattern may be ingrained or learned in our CNS (central nervous system).

Our body has adopted a new (dysfunctional) movement pattern with no current pain present. This helps to explain why previous injuries are the most common reason for future injury. And this cannot be resolved without retraining proper movement patterns. I see this often in our massage practice when I am stretching hamstrings on clients who reported injuring their low back but with no current pain in that area; as I passively stretch their hamstrings their hips or upper body will jerk. These clients are doing so because their bodies have learned to avoid that movement even with no current pain reported.

What is it about pain that changes the way people move? What is it about the way people move that causes pain?” Gray Cook

Pain in Society Today

Try massage not meds for muscle painHave you ever injured a body part? Do you remember how well or not-so-well you moved with that injury? Modern technology has so many different creams, pain-killers, prescription drugs, braces, wraps and athletic tape for you to cover up or mask the pain so that, you can go about your daily lives. In the short term these therapeutic aides may help you; many athletes use them so that they can continue to play their sport. But the problem that I see is that you routinely go to these methods without any thought or consideration to what is causing, your pain to begin with.

I find it very amusing that, you will react to a computer virus, bug or alert faster than, you will with your own alert system. Pain is a warning sign just like the one flashing on your computer. It is an indicator to a problem before it becomes a chronic issue. So if you are experiencing pain, be thankful that your nerves are still firing.

Fight pain with proper movement and functional exercises

Have you been to the gym lately?. These “so-called” fitness machines have us sit, lay or get buckled in without fully utilizing our musculature or even our core stabilizers muscles.

This is not healthy; it is not fitness and it is not functional. Imagine your mom trying to carry a bag of groceries up a flight of stairs. This is truly when she will need her legs, feet and low back muscles to judge load balance and stabilize. Or try to imagine yourself boarding a plane and putting your carry-on in the over-head compartment are you buckled in or sitting on a machine now? No! This is when you need your core, without it you will injure yourself.

Tell me if this makes sense, what good is it to have an aesthetically pleasing body when this person cannot touch their toes in forward flexon? Or to have someone who competes in triathlons and yet cannot do a full squat without their heels staying flat on the ground or watching their knees go into valgus collapse?

Massage Therapy and its role for me

I am 35 years young and recently someone asked me if, I was going through a mid-life crisis because I have shaved my head and have become a fanatic about running, working out and getting massages.

If I am going through a mid-life crisis, I am going to re-define what that means and what that should look and feel like. I have a beautiful 7 year old young baby girl and a 2 boys. I have found myself with a new role; living for my kids. And I want to live well for them, be able to play outside with them as well as be a GREAT role model for them.

So the role that massage therapy plays for me is it takes my body out of the equation. And what this means to me is training without pain. Massage therapy or bodywork as I like to call it has effectively allowed me NOT to worry about my physical limitations due to pain and simply allow me to concentrate just on my mental game. And you cannot do that if you have pain present anywhere.

Your body will avoid a movement when there is something wrong. When your body is affected by limited range of motion and other dysfunctional patterns of movement, pain will develop every time.  As my business partner would say, “take the excuse out!” Let massage therapy and bodywork take the excuse out for you, so that you can train, move and live pain-free.

Three simple tips – How to live a longer life with less stress

(NaturalNews) Sometimes it may seem like the strains and demands of modern society exceed human abilities. However, that is usually far from the truth. This article outlines how you can take things down a notch with three simple tips that will help you shrug off stress and anxiety, induce deep relaxation, and make harmful levels of cortisol plummet.

The way we respond to stress has a bigger impact on our health than we previously thought. In 2009, the Nobel Prize in Medicine went to Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider and Jack Szostak, who discovered a link between chronic emotional stress and telomerase (an enzyme responsible for repairing telomeres – the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes in cells that control aging). What they found was that people who feel more stressed are more likely to have shorter telomeres and lower levels of telomerase, which suggests that prolonged stress may actually shorten our lifespan.

If that wasn’t enough, chronic stress has also been associated with a host of healthproblems – ranging from inflammation, heart disease and rashes to headaches, insomnia, hemorrhoids, varicose veins and loss of concentration. The following relaxationtechniques for dealing with stress and anxiety will allow you to grab the reins, indulge in positive thoughts and inhibit sympathetic nervous activity.

#1 Tip: Sauna and steam-baths

Sauna and steam-baths cleanse the body and relax the mind by generating abundant sweat. This is achieved with a 10-20 minute session in a room warmed to 180+ degrees Fahrenheit.

However, relaxation and contentment are not the only health benefits sauna is offering. The heat releases poisons so that your body is able to get rid of them via perspiration. During a sauna session, we go through artificial fever state, which stimulates the immune system and supports the body’s natural healing process. Plus, the increased blood flow to subcutaneous and surface tissue gradually improves the quality of the skin.

#2 Tip: Deep breathing

In modern society, the impact of breathing on our health goes largely unnoticed. It’s a shame because when you breathe correctly, your body reacts in many positive ways.

Deep breathing reduces high blood pressure, raises our energy levels, relaxes muscles and improves athletic performance. It also helps us release tension and reverse the body’s fight & flight reaction to stressful situations – no health club membership required.

#3 Tip: Massage therapy

Many people view massages as luxury splurges with no real health benefit. That is, however, far from the truth. This hands-on healing is terrific for removing blockages as well as for dealing with stress, migraines and neck pain. Another wonderful side benefit of massage is improved quality of sleep.

Both everyday experience and scientific research suggest that there are few things you can do to impact your life more powerfully and profoundly than learning how to cope with everyday stress. All you need to do is take the first step by taking enough time to slow down and relax.
Learn more:


Can a Massage Boost your Immune System?

A recent study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine divided people into two groups, one was given the most popular type of massage, a Swedish massage, whereas the other was given a light touch massage. Researchers took blood samples at intervals before and after both massages, the results were significant.

Never has there been a study to prove health benefits of massage apart from stress relief and relaxation but this study revealed the several physiological benefits of massage. Participant’s blood composition experienced an increase in lymphocytes by those who received the Swedish massage for 45 minutes. Lymphocytes are white cells in the body that help fight disease. In addition, the massage also lowered their cortisol levels (the hormone released in response to stress) and arginine vasopressin levels (a hormone linked with aggressive behavior).

So in addition to treating back pain, sleep disorders and lowering stress levels, keep in mind the benefits of a massage on your health. With another reason to pamper yourself,

The Structure of the Immune System

Organs of the Immune System

The organs of the immune system are positioned throughout the body; tonsils and adenoids, lymph nodes, lympathic vessels, thymus, spleen, appendix, Peyer's patch, and bone marrow.
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Lymph Node

The lymph node contains numerous specialized structures. T cells concentrate in the paracortex, B cells in and around the germinal centers, and plasma cells in the medulla. This image shows the incoming lymph vessle, follicles, germinal center, paracortex, cortex, medulla, a vein and an artery, and the outgoing lymph vessel.
The lymph node contains numerous specialized structures. T cells concentrate in the paracortex, B cells in and around the germinal centers, and plasma cells in the medulla. 

Lymphatic Vessel

An image of lymph nodes interconnected by lymphatic vessels in the body.
Immune cells and foreign particles enter the lymph nodes via incoming lymphatic vessels or the lymph nodes’ tiny blood vessels. 

Better Posture by Massage

Allowing the body to reinforce healthy and natural movements can be one of the most beneficial aspects of massage therapy. Many aches and pains are due to poor posture. Whether we are driving, working at a desk, or even just standing still, poor posture can contribute to a number of physical aches and pains. Over time, these habits can cause increased body stress and breakdown.

With a consistent program of massage therapy, the painful points in muscles are loosened and relaxed, joints have greater freedom, and pressure points are relieved. This allows the body to position itself in a healthy and natural posture, therefore avoiding the movements and positions developed over time as a reaction to the pain.


  • Muscles are loosened and relaxed
  • Joints enjoy greater freedom
  • Pressure points are relieved
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