Monthly Archives: September 2013

Under Pressure

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For many many years, I thought deep tissue massage  was simply pushing HARDER- That seemed to appease most of my deep tissue clients . ” As I grew in my career and got more education I learned better.
So for those that still think as I did-lets clear something up right now, deep tissue massage is not deep PRESSURE massage. I can work deeply in to your muscles and soft tissues with out using deep pressure just by slowing down my work and heating up the area first- either with my hands or with a heating pack.
The problem with continuing this idea of “just push harder” is that it’s counter productive. The harder you push, the harder the muscles push back. Muscle guarding, as it’s called. When the muscle has had enough- it won’t let you continue to force pressure without injury to the tissue and nobody wants to feel MORE pain than what they originally came in with.

Many therapist retire early from over doing it on the pressure, injuring and breaking down their own bodies in the process of trying to help and assist healing for their clients. This simply doesn’t have to be the case.

Actually, pain is a signal from your body telling you to stop, slow down, and listen and those ideas have no place in massage therapy or fitness for that matter. I can’t tell you how many of my clients have chronic pain from a sports or fitness related injury.

In my practice, communication between client and therapist is super crucial. I can usually tell from muscle guarding or body language when I’ve reached the clients pain tolerance….. but not always- sometimes muscles don’t react or it’s too subtle to notice so my clients use a pain scale to alert me to any discomfort ( 1-10- 1 being no pain and 10 being excruciating pain.) If the pressure or pain goes past a 6 on their scale, they let me know and my work changes to accommodate them. Easy peasy! It keeps everyone happy and comfortable through out the session.

Deep Pressure: is exerting more pressure or force.
If it’s done right, its AHHHmazing! If it’s done wrong it’s painful and dangerous to soft tissue and can have some emotional side effects as well.  Done right, deep pressure can relax the nervous system, but used wrong, can send someone in to a panic. It’s important to get training and learn a pressure intensive style thought the proper channels. I LOVE pressure and compression- giving it and receiving it.

 

Deep Tissue:
Is simply using techniques to access deeper muscular structures. Any technique will do but most offend the therapist uses Myofacial release, Trigger Point Therapy, Friction, Compression, Traction and more- along with expert palpation skills to locate the specific muscle that needs the work. Sometimes you ( on the client’s end) will FEEL the depth of the pressure and other times you won’t. It all depends on the technique being used. Some deep work is done very gently.

Tendon Injury

 

 

What is a tendon injury?

Tendons are strong bands of connective tissue that attach muscle to bone. When a tendon is acutely injured it is called a strain. Tendonitis is when a tendon is inflamed. When there are micro-tears in a tendon from repeated injury it is called tendinosis. Tendinopathy is the term for both inflammation and micro-tears.

Tendonitis develops slowly and is caused by overworking the tendons. Tiny tears occur on a tendon when it is constantly overworked. The tendon becomes irritated which causes swelling and pain.

What is the cause?

The most common cause of tendonitis is increasing the length of time or intensity of an activity or exercise program too quickly. Tendonitis in the knee, foot, and calf are common in athletes who do sports that involve running and jumping. Tendonitis in the knees can also occur from biking. Activities like swimming, swinging a golf club, or pitching a ball can cause tendonitis in the shoulder. Wearing worn-out shoes or being out of shape are other possible causes.

Body structure problems like having bowlegs, one leg shorter than the other, or flat feet can also lead to tendonitis. Tendonitis may also occur from repeated motion such as using a keyboard or using a hammer.

What is the treatment?

Often people do nothing except hope that the pain will simply go away. More serious symptoms may begin if these early symptoms are ignored. The occasional pain will change to constant aching, pain, and stiffness before, during, and after exercise. The tendon will also hurt when the area is touched.

If you are having pain:

Stop the activity that is causing the problem for a short time.
Put an ice pack, gel pack, or package of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a cloth on the area every 3 to 4 hours, for up to 20 minutes at a time.
You could also do ice massage. To do this, first freeze water in a Styrofoam cup, then peel the top of the cup away to expose the ice. Hold the bottom of the cup and rub the ice over your tendon for 5 to 10 minutes. Do this several times a day while you have pain.
Take an anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen, or other medicine as directed by your provider. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take for more than 10 days.
You can keep doing activities that do not stress or cause pain to the injured area. Make sure to stretch before doing any activities. Also, you may need to cross train. That is, instead of doing only one sport, try different activities to prevent overuse injuries.

See your provider if the problem does not go away in a couple of weeks. Irritated tendons can tear if left untreated. When this happens more serious treatment such as a wearing a cast or surgery is needed.

How can I prevent tendon injuries?

When you exercise, wear shoes that fit properly and are made for the activity.
Warm-up before exercise and stretch after exercise.
Use proper form and posture during your activities, whether they are sports or job-related. For instance, be sure your tennis stroke is correct and that your tennis racket has the proper grip size.
Use ice on stiff or sore joints after exercise or work.

 

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How Does Massage Work?

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How Does Massage Work?

Massage causes physiological changes in your body through:
The relaxation response, which is an involuntary, yet predictable response of the nervous system to massage techniques and touch Mechanical responses, which are physical effects that occur in the body when pressure is applied to the soft tissues
Together, these responses can produce physical and emotional benefits.

What is the relaxation response?
In a massage, a caring, safe touch is an invitation to relax. This, together with pain relief, generally produces a “relaxation response.”
The relaxation response is a state in which your heart and breathing rate slow, your blood pressure goes down, your production of stress hormones decreases, and your muscles relax. The relaxation response also seems to increase the available level of serotonin, which is a chemical in the body that positively affects emotions and thoughts. While this information is promising, more studies are needed to directly confirm the relationship between massage and levels of serotonin in the brain.
The relaxation response may decrease the physical effects of stress and reduce the risks associated with stress, such as hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia’s, anxiety, insomnia, persistent fatigue, sexual dysfunction, digestive disorders, and psychological issues–to name a few.

What are mechanical responses?
The physical manipulation in massage has two major physical effects: Increase in blood and lymph circulation Relaxation and normalization of the soft tissue (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments), which releases nerves and deeper connective tissues

Improving Circulation

Massage is believed to improve blood and lymph circulation. This is probably due partly to the physical manipulation of soft tissue and partly to the chemicals released as part of the relaxation response.
Improved circulation can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells. As cellular health improves, tissues function more efficiently. More efficient functioning leads to the removal of waste products and may increase the absorption of excess fluids and reduce swelling in soft tissues.

Relaxing Tissue

Massage therapy relaxes muscle tissue, which reduces painful contractions and spasms. Massage can also reduce nerve compression. To understand this, consider that when muscles are contracted, they sometimes compress the nerves around them. When these muscles are relaxed, the nerves are no longer compressed, and, in theory, can get proper nutrients and operate more efficiently. The nerves can assume their normal work of transmitting messages to and from the brain, which improves functioning of the muscles and organs.

Touching the skin or applying pressure relaxes muscles, tendons, and ligaments. In addition, while some of the deeper tissues of the body, such as deep spinal musculature, cannot be easily accessed by a massage therapist, the release of more superficial layers of muscles may also affect these deeper layers. This can lead to both superficial and deep tissues finding a better alignment and balance.

Organs can also benefit from massage, as they share neurological pain pathways with muscles, bones, and nerves. When muscles, bones, or nerves are distressed, organs can sometimes reflect distress and dysfunction. For example, low back pain can intensify menstrual cramps and menstrual cramps can cause low back muscles to tense. Massage can therefore improve symptoms associated with the functioning of both the organ and the muscles.

WHAT TIME DO YOU USUALLY GO TO BED?

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Did you know that the body performs most of its repair during the hours of 10pm and 2 am? Our bodies were designed to naturally sleep during the dark hours and rise with the sun. As we disrupt that natural cycle with artificial lights and activity, our hormones are stressed to keep up.

If you have trouble sleeping through the night, did you also know that it’s most likely related to a blood sugar problem?

Here are a few articles that may provide more answers to your sleeping issues:
http://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue_and_sleep.asp 

http://doctorkatend.com/have-you-been-waking-in-the-middle-of-the-night-since-menopause/

http://blog.adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue/sleep-adrenal-fatigue/

Please Touch Me!

If I am your baby, please touch me.
I need your touch in ways you may never know.
Don’t just wash and change and feed me,
but rock me close, kiss my face and stroke my body.
Your soothing, gentle touch says security and love.

If I am your child, please touch me
though I may resist, even push you away.
Persist. find ways to meet my needs.
Your goodnight hug helps sweeten my dreams.
Your daytime touching tells me how you really feel.

If I am your teenager, please touch me.
Don’t think because I’m almost grown,
I don’t need to know that you still care.
I need your loving arms, I need a tender voice.
When the road gets rocky, then the child in me still needs.

If I am your friend, please touch me.
Nothing lets me know you care like a warm embrace.
A healing touch when I’m depressed assures me I am loved
and reassures me that I am not alone.
Yours may be the only comforting touch I get.

If I am your sexual partner, please touch me.
You may think that your passion is enough,
but only your arms hold back my fears.
I need your tender reassuring touch
to remind me I am loved just because I am me.

If I am your grown-up child, please touch me.
Though I may have a family of my own to hold,
I still need Mummy’s and Daddy’s arms when I hurt.
As a parent the view is different,
I appreciate you more.

If I am your ageing parent, please touch me
the way I was touched when I was very young.
Hold my hands, sit close to me, give me strength,
and warm my tired body with your nearness.
Although my skin is worn wrinkled, it loves to be stroked.

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Therapeutic Massage For Kids

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Children require daily touch for all aspects of proper development, from social to cognitive. Therapeutic Massage has been integrated into the learning environment of swedish school children, with excellent results.

Kids get stressed, although we often consider childhood to be stress-free time in life. Emotional stress often induces muscle tightness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back, which can lead to headaches and constant pain. But up no your child’s specific activities and lifestlye, other areas may need attention as well. There are many stressors for kids beside the emotional.

Other stressors include tension from schoolwork; long hours of intensive focusing; athelic and sports training for gymnastics, soccer, and other sports; social issues; and more. Injuries from sport are addressed, as well as general de-stressing.

All techniques and modalities are employed, though less pressure is utilized than when working with adult clients. Kids massage is a safe and effective way of helping children feel better.

Not only is school work a source of emotional stress, caused by test and quizzes, and looming deadlines for and reports, but also a source of physical stress. Kids sit at their desks for hours and hours, and dont even have the opportunity to get up and stretch. Eyestrain from reading for so many hours also can result, along with backaches from generic non-ergonomically design school furniture, and carrying loads of books back and forth to school.

And so, its really isn’t quite so shocking when we discover that our children are suffering silently with TMJ, headaches, and general anxiety. Therapeutic Massage for kids can help children relax more, and suffer less.

 

Call 65.6327.8545

 

Glute Activation

Sit at a desk all day?

In addition to stretching your hip flexors, you’ll want to activate your glutes with these simple movements.

Exercise # 1 – The Glute Bridge
The glute bridge targets your gluteus maximus, the large butt muscle that’s so crucial to big squats and deadlifts.

To do it, lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your abs and your glutes at the same time, then, using your glutes, raise your hips up as far as they’ll go. Hold for two seconds at the top then lower your hips till they lightly graze the floor before repeating. Do ten reps.

Think about squeezing your butt the whole time. And ignore the looks from other gym members. They’re just jealous.

Exercise #2 – The Leg Lift
The side-lying leg lift activates your smaller butt muscles — the glute minimus and glute medius — that are usually weak and can contribute to lower back pain.

To do it, lie on your left side with your legs straight and “stacked” on top of each other with your toes pointing forward. Now slightly bend your left leg (the bottom one) so your right foot (the top one) is gently resting on the ground. Rest your head on your upper left arm, and place your right hand on the floor in front of your chest, for support.

Squeeze your abs and and slowly lift your right leg straight up to hip height. Try not to roll forward or backward. Hold for three seconds then slowly lower your leg. Do ten reps then turn over and repeat, raising your left leg.

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Forward Head Posture

There is a new term being circulated called “TEXT NECK”. As you can guess, it results from poor posture during texting, e-mailing, and other activities with a smart phone or tablet. This is really just another term for ‘Forward Head Posture‘ or ‘Upper-Crossed Syndrome’ that so commonly afflicts our modern society.

Symptoms of text neck are headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain, as well as tingling or numbness of the upper extremities. The prolonged forward head posture puts excessive strain on over-stretched neck/back muscles on the backside, while keeping tight and facilitated muscles in the front of the neck/chest.

Remain mindful of how you use your smartphones and devices. Do you commonly tilt head to one side or the other? Are you looking down all day? Is your core weak? If these habits continue, permanent structural changes may result in the spine, as well as arthritis and chronic pain.

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Massage for yogis

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yoga (Photo credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS)

EVERY yogi knows the feeling – you’re striving for that perfect mind, body, spirit connection – but your body’s just not playing ball. On some days it does, but on other days it just says: “no, no and no … I’m not doing that today.”

The wonderful thing about yoga is that it teaches us that this is OK. Listen to your body, it’s always a better teacher than anyone standing in front of you in a class. But sometimes we could all use just a little extra help with flexibility.

One of the amazing benefits of massage is that it really can help improve your flexibility. Yoga works gradually on increasing your stretching ability, and massage helps boost the natural lubricants in your connective tissue. Combining the two helps give you an even greater range of motion, improves your posture and even your breathing.

By increasing your circulation, yoga combined with massage will help blood move through your body more effectively, which in turn can help lower blood pressure and improve your overall health as well as injury recovery time.

Before or after yoga?

So, is it better to have a massage before or after your yoga session? Well, like most things, that depends. Having a massage before yoga helps warm and stretch your muscles and may help you hold poses for longer. If you are one of those people who have trouble ‘switching off’ in a yoga class, a massage just before may help you with all that internal chattering that most of us suffer from time-to-time.

Massage after yoga is a powerfully relaxing experience and most people feel the positive benefits of combining the two for the rest of the day and evening. Don’t forget, massage is just as effective whether you are fully conscious or half drifting off. Some people prefer to schedule a massage when they know they have more leisure time – it really is just down to personal choice.

 

Can a Massage Help you Lose Weight?

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The Reality of Massage

 

Massage therapy is now used in several ways, such as helping stimulate the growth of premature babies, post-surgery physical rehabilitation and yes, in some cases, losing weight. By manipulating the muscles, a massage therapist can set off a chain of events that, more often than not, result in many positive health attributes.

 

Metabolic Rate

 

Metabolism is the furnace that keeps your engine running. After a certain age your metabolism can slow down. This sometimes results in weight gain. Regular massage sessions can boost your metabolic rate–jolting it to burn fat faster and help utilize your food intake turning it to energy rather than fat. If you are young, then massage can maintain your fast moving metabolism before it gets sluggish. This does not mean that you do not have to watch your diet but that a combination of healthy food, daily exercise and a weekly massage can be an excellent recipe for losing weight.

 

Workout Angst

 

If you are finding it difficult to apply your body to a workout regime due to muscle soreness and joint pain, then this would make it easy to stop exercising. A lack of exercise may cause you to pack on the pounds. Fortunately, a massage regiment can reduce muscle soreness by removing toxins such as lactic acid that can build up and cause pain. Post-workout soreness or injury can also be alleviated considerably. Massage brings oxygenated, vitamin- and mineral-rich blood to the the muscles faster. This boosts reparation and enhances everyday activities including exercise. In addition, range of motion when stretching or lifting is also improved. Pain free exercise means that you’ll be able to engage in the activity more often and be less susceptible to weight gain.

 

Fat Cell Attack

 

Many studies claim that massage can actually burst young roaming fat cells causing them to release their fat causing content and be removed from the system. These claims may have some merit but are yet to be substantiated.

 

What Kind, How Much, How Long

 

Getting a massage once or even twice a week on an ongoing basis will enhance your weight loss program and quality of life considerably. Getting a massage even twice a month can help too. If finances are difficult you can contact a local massage program that may have a clinic that needs bodies for their students to practice on. These sessions are usually free and may have a waiting list. One other option that is also free is amateur massage. There are many books available that give basic massage techniques that can be used by friends and loved ones.

 

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