“We don’t need sugar to live and we don’t need it as a society”
-Dr. OZ

With Autumn upon us we begin to embrace the holiday season and that means sweet treats. From Halloween candy, to Thanksgiving desserts, and Christmas cookies, the sweets are everywhere. Surprisingly enough, sugar is almost everywhere all the time. We find added refined sugars in breakfast cereals, snacks, sports and energy drinks, as well as even fruit juices. According to Dr. Lustig, professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of California San Fransico, “sugar in all forms… is a key contributor to many of our diet related diseases and conditions, including obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease,  high blood pressure, and cancer. ”

Our bodies can’t utilize refined sugars and when it attempts to, sugar strips the body of essential vitamins and minerals due to the excess demand needed to digest, detoxify, and eliminate the sugar. This process goes on to produce “toxic metabolites” that accumulate in the brain and nervous system and  interfere with cellular respiration which is very damaging to our bodies.

Our sweet tooth can get the best of us, but beware or it can be damaging to your health.

Our sweet tooth can get the best of us, but beware or it can be damaging to your health.

The trauma from sugar can be repaired by the body when sugar intake isn’t excessive. It is recommended  by the American Heart Association that daily sugar intake should not exceed 25g for women and 38g for men. Seems like a lot until you realize that a single can of soda contains about 35g of sugar alone! You don’t necessarily have to cut sugar out of your life completely, but if you can become more aware of what contains sugar and moderate your consumption then you can become a healthier YOU!

 

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

Helen Keller

Do you suffer from chronic neck and upper shoulder pain on a regular basis and can’t figure out why? Perhaps you are one of the 66-90% of the population that suffers from a very common condition know as Forward Head Posture (FHP).42lbhead_free

FHP can be recognized when, from a profile or side view, a person’s ear is positioned in front of the shoulder rather than directly over it – in proper posture. This condition caused by poor posture causes the head to lean forward and for every inch that the head falls forward the head gains 10lbs worth of weight on the muscles of the neck and shoulders. The addition strain causes these muscles to work much harder to hold the head from flopping forward. When this type of stress is put on muscles for a long period of time, the body reacts by laying down scar tissue in the muscle fibers for stability. The strain on the muscles and the addition of scar tissue limits flexibility and causes additional pressure on the nerves in the neck which increases pain and fatigue. If left untreated and FHP becomes severe enough, it will not only cause long duration tension headaches, but can also increase blood pressure, cause disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves, and even distortions in the eyes and ears that could lead to mental disorders.

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

There is hope in correcting FHP: starting by identifying the incorrect posture through postural analysis, the following step would be to stretch out the muscles the have become tightened then strengthen the weak muscles so that you are able to hold your head up in proper posture. It’s always good to seek the advice of a professional, such as a chiropractor, to ensure there aren’t any major skeletal problems as well as a massage therapist to help ease the tension in the muscles. The same professionals can show you the proper stretches and exercises to prevent the havoc of FHP!

 

“Just when you think you know the answers, I change the questions!”

-Rowdy Roddy Piper

The profession of massage therapy is evolving everyday to expand and branch out into many different realms proving that it is a value part of healthcare. In the same manner, the art of professional wrestling is evolving to produce better action, healthier athletes, and longer careers for said professionals. I personally have reached outside the box for the typical demographic of massage therapy and entered the ring with treating professional wrestlers as part of my extended clientele.

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to have the legendary Mike Mooneyham document the work that I have done with professional wrestling and how massage therapy has made and impact on the profession. Click the link below to read the article. Enjoy!

 

READ THE ARTICLE

Jarrod C. Fritz LMT and The Post & Courier's Mike Mooneyham. Mike is the longest reigning pro wrestling editor ever!

Jarrod C. Fritz LMT and The Post & Courier’s Mike Mooneyham. Mike is the longest reigning pro wrestling editor ever!

Have you ever wondered how it can be so easy for some people to do certain motions such as holding proper posture, swinging a golf club, or speaking a different language, when it seems so difficult for you? Maybe you are curious about how workouts become easier after a short period of time? The body has a process called Muscle Memory. Does this mean that each muscle has it’s own memory?

Muscle memory refers to brains ability to learn how do a movement, then recall those actions and send the correct nerve impulse down the spinal cord  to the neuromuscular junctions where the nerve meets the muscle telling it how to move. Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director at Quincy College in Massachusetts explains that “your brain creates pathways through your central nervous system, and movements become automatic.”
Nerve impulses follow the path of least resistance and this is why it can be difficult and even painful to learn new movements. As muscles weaken, become injured, or are put in compromised positions such as bad posture, they become bound by toxins and scar tissues that limit movement. The fewer resistance in the muscles the easier it becomes to retrain muscle memory and less painful the process will be.

A NeuroMuscular Junction is where the nerve meets and muscle. This is where the brain tells the muscle when and how to move.

A NeuroMuscular Junction is where the nerve meets and muscle. This is where the brain tells the muscle when and how to move.

Most people suggest working through the pain and difficulty, but you don’t necessarily have to take that route. Therapeutic massage and proper flexibility training helps to break down scar tissue and assists in removal of metabolic waste build up in the muscles. This allows for easier training of the muscle memory, so if you are starting a new workout, wanting to optimize your performance, or more importantly improve your posture try adding regular massage therapy and a good stretching routine into your regiment to improve your memory!

 

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”

-Leonardo Da Vinci

It seems these days that the good name of massage therapy has been severely tarnished. The media has a tendency to sexualize massage and the emergence of  many  non-licensed “Massage Parlors” don’t help to justify the legitimacy of massage as proper healthcare. I can’t tell you how many times my profession gets mocked in a social setting by using the terms “rubdown”, “masseuse”, & “happy ending.”

The concept that massage therapy can be easily misconstrued is not difficult to see. Many clients are asked to disrobe in a private room and have someone touch them in a soothing way. History hasn’t helped this misconception either. Many times throughout history, brothels have been masked by the facade of a massage therapy studio. The truth is there is that Massage THERAPY is nothing like the misconception people may have of the profession.

Truth to the matter is that licensed massage therapists go through extensive schooling as well as testing the therapists knowledge on anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, as well as moral code. It truly is a slap in the face of the profession and those who have invested their time, money, and passion into the business of helping people. Understand that there is nothing wrong with your significant other giving you a massage at the end of a hard workday, but when you need more specific help you can rest assured that massage therapist out there trained in understanding the complex relationships of muscles and movement associated with the human body.

In the field of massage therapy there are many different modalities that show how diverse the profession can be utilize to the benefit of  the public. Continuing education that is required for massage therapist to retain their license allows the therapist to excel and keep them at the forefront of their specific specialties.   It is this reason you are seeing the Allied healthcare community become more supportive of the profession and why you see massage therapists in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and chiropractors. The medical professionals understand and trust the importance and many benefits of therapeutic massage.

 

“A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”

-David Hume

I know that I write and post a lot about the benefits of massage and how it is great for general health and well-being. It’s easy to assume that when reading this it’s biased and swayed because it’s my business and I am a massage therapist, but the real truth is that I never believed that massage was anything more than just a luxury. That statement right there is blasphemous to my fellow therapists I’m sure, but I have to be honest so that you understand that Massage Therapy has truly changed my life!

Like many of people who only understand massage from what they see in the media, I really thought that massage was all about relaxing with candlelight, incense, and ambient music. It wasn’t until I applied for the Physical Therapist’s Assistant program at my local community college and was denied due to a lack of volunteer hours, that I was introduced to the clinical side of massage. I decided it would be worth my while to at least give it a shot, so I applied and was required to take several medical pre requisites. Pre requisites for a massage class? I knew at this point massage therapy had to be more serious than what I interpreted.

After getting accepted into the program, I was introduced to the program director and future mentor Steve Jurch. From day one Steve took a very scientific and clinical approach to how massage, or soft tissue treatment, can really make a difference in overall health and wellness. Throughout the program, which was almost 2 years long total, I learned more about biomechnical movement, muscular anatomy, and kinesiology than I had ever thought I would. I was also able to see and experience first hand how different the therapeutic approach really was and how immediately the results could be. It changed the way I felt, moved, and even perceived my environment.

My belief in massage therapy became greater and greater over the years, but in the early stages of my career I was still reluctant and somewhat skeptical. I had to ask many questions and do significant continuing education before I started seeing my treatments really effect people in a positive way. There have been many clients that I have worked with since then that have avoided surgery, regained range of motion, reduced painful and stressful symptoms, and so much more! Massage therapy has been around for many years and has been used to treat people for all kinds of aches, pains, disorders, and illness with great results. How can I not believe in this after seeing first hand many different times!?

It may have taken me some time to convert my skepticism, but I have been a massage therapist for over 10 years and let me tell you…if it can change my mind, I’m sure that it can change yours as well!

“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

-Voltaire

This morning on a commercial break while watching the news I watched 3 back to back ads for over-the-counter pain medications. First off, I was baffled as to why they would play 3 different ads for the same product and secondly I was taken away by the fact that there are people out there take take OTC pain meds multiple times on a daily basis!

As soon as I could, I had to get to a computer and do some research and what I found was quite mind-blowing. Pain killers are the number one purchased OTC drug and many that are taking these pain killers are misusing them. In a study done by WebMD, it showed that ” nearly half of the 175 million adults who take over-the-counter pain relievers admit to exceeding the recommended dose, and few are aware of the potential risks.” The same research informs that “16,500 people die and 103,000 are hospitalized each year because of NSAID-related problems.”

over-the-counter pain killers can help manage but over time they do more bad than good.

over-the-counter pain killers can help manage but over time they do more bad than good.

Just like almost all medications that are ingested in pill form, they have to be processed by the liver and after time of continual use of the drugs, the liver can start having problems of it’s own. In addition, after repetitive use of drugs, the body adapts to the medication and more is require to achieve the same result. You can easily see how this is very unsafe and can potentially be fatal.

Low Back pain is at the top of the list for the needs of pain medications

Low Back pain is at the top of the list for the needs of pain medications

Now I’m not knocking pain medication all together, but there should be no real reason that you have to take it on a daily basis. After all, the medication only treats the symptoms not the cause. To really be effective you need to try and figure out the cause and then treat appropriately. In my experience as a massage therapist, I have found that many people are taking pain medications due to low back pain and severe headaches. In many of these cases these conditions are accompanied by poor posture. Without getting to in depth (I will save that for another BLOG), when the body starts loosing it’s correct posture, structures start to shift. Muscles on one side of the body become tight and on the other side of the body become overstretched. This in itself can cause significant and noticeable pain, but add to that when the muscular imbalance occurs that joints that were meant to move smoothly become compressed and dysfunctional. Blood vessels and nerves can become compressed if the postural alignment is to far from the norm.

Overuse and Misuse of OTC pain killers can cause serious Liver damage.

Overuse and Misuse of OTC pain killers can cause serious Liver damage.

You will read many articles that dispute the fact that there is no scientific research or proof that pain has anything to do with improper posture, but I say find out for yourself. Massage Therapy has been proven to relieve pain in the muscle fibers as well as alleviate headaches and help to restore posture, all with no real negative side effects. Ask any person who has received a massage if they felt better afterwards and if their pain was reduced and that should be proof enough that therapeutic massage is a better option than consistently over using OTC pain killers. It’s natural, it has been used for thousands of years, and it gets results!