Archive for the ‘Special Modalities’ Category

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

– Dr. Seuss

Some experts claim that stretching is a bad idea and they aren’t wrong! If you stretch too much or attempt to stretch without the right goals or proper instruction, it could lead to disastrous outcomes. Most people are unaware of the components of good stretching. Determining goals and learning what type of stretching that works best for you are most important to avoid pain and injury.

Stretching can not only prevent injury but help to promote health and wellness.

Stretching can not only prevent injury but help to promote health and wellness.

The 2 main goals to consider when stretching are whether you want to just prep the muscles for strenuous activity or whether you would like to lengthen the muscles to increase range of motion and improve movement? If you are getting ready for a work out or about to do strenuous activity the type of stretching that would be better suited for you would be Ballistic, which involves bouncing , or a short duration static stretches, which involves holding a stretch for a short period of time. You also want to make sure that you are stretching target muscles that you will be utilizing. If you are looking to improve your range of motion and optimize movement while recorrecting your posture, then you would be more suited to visit a specialist that can help teach you Static, Active Isolated, and/or PNF stretching that would include the proper movements, adequate amounts of pressure and durations, and tips to avoid overstretching.
The idea behind stretching, either for activity prep or for increasing range of motion, is to avoid injury. Stretching increases blood flow to the area which increases localized temperature making the muscle fibers more pliable and easier to reduce muscular tension. The increase in blood flow also brings nutrients to the area that assists in the recovery of muscle tissue from activity and injury. With benefits like that, it should be an easy choice that stretching is a good move, but remember to stretch smart and stretch well. Always remember to seek professional advice on stretching from professionals such as chiropractors, massage therapist, personal trainers, and rehab specialists!

Advertisements

“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!

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.

 

“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!

“Memory…is the diary that we all carry about with us.”

-Oscar Wilde

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.

The brain sends signals down the spinal cord to tell the muscles what to do...don't let poor posture and toxins get in the way!!

The brain sends signals down the spinal cord to tell the muscles what to do…don’t let poor posture and toxins get in the way!!

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!

 

“Diligence is the mother of good luck ”

-Benjamin Franklin

 

It’s no surprise to anyone that athlete’s will do just about anything to optimize their performance. Athlete’s will do extended training, extreme workouts, and learn new techniques to take them to the top. Another  element that many may not consider is the use of therapeutic massage to achieve better results. The utilization of massage for athletes is not a new idea, massage has been used by athletes for many years to produce better outcome in their respective sports. In fact, “in the first Olympic games of 776 BC, athletes received massage before an event. Afterwards, the competitors would take a dip in a hot bath, receive massage and then dip in a cold bath to prepare their muscles for the next event.” There are many benefits of massage therapy that can promote an athlete’s recovery and
optimize their performance.

Whether you are enjoying a recreational adventure race...

Whether you are enjoying a recreational adventure race…

Massage is a form of passive stretching so the application will help to keep the athlete’s muscles flexible and prepared for intense work. The amount of stress and damage done to an athlete’s muscles during their activities produces waste and pain in the body. Providing massage will help increase circulation which brings fresh blood that is full of nutrients to the areas needed, which reduces recovery time. Increased circulation also helps with the removal of the harmful wastes in the body as well as decreases pain that may limit performance. Relaxation is one of the simplest and best benefits of massage this will help the athlete to calm the nervous system which reduces anxiety, improves focus, and makes it easier to sleep which helps in the recovery process. Recently, researchers at McMaster University reported that deep massage after an intense workout actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria! Mitochondira, the powerhouses of our cells, are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy. This research makes it easy to see why the addition of
massage to an athlete’s routine would help them on their road to gold!

...or you are training at an elite level, massage can  help you get the gold!

…or you are training at an elite level, massage can help you get the gold!