Why Should I Get Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork Regularly ?

Lengthening Fascia on the Back

Stretching Myofascial Tightness or Restrictions

Gentle Cervical Stretch

Gentle Cervical Stretch

Treating Low Back Pain by Lengthening the Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Muscle

Treating Low Back Pain by Lengthening the Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Muscle

When clients ask me about how often they should come in for a session, I tell them it depends on their condition, how well their body responds to the treatment, and of course, how motivated they are to get well and stay well.  After our initial session, I usually advise them to come back and finish the work if the pain returns in 2-3 days.

Most massage therapists & bodyworkers are taught that the benefits of massage are cumulative through repeated visits—receiving massage regularly, with frequency tailored to the client’s needs. I’m convinced now more than ever that it’s true.

Early in my career, I didn’t promote follow-up maintenance sessions after an average of 2-4 sessions, and achieving a successful outcome; however, after sixteen years of treating acute and chronic pain, and doing additional research on the subject, I’ve come to believe that regular scheduled sessions are beneficial and a good practice for most of my clients.

Getting regularly scheduled massage & bodywork can play a large part in our future health and fitness. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in our health

Research indicates that massage therapy is a powerful ally in our health care, and the medical community is actively embracing bodywork as an integral part of hospice care, incorporating on-site practitioners, and even spas to treat post surgery as part of the recovery process. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations. If you have chronic pain, talk to your doctor about adding massage by a qualified clinical massage therapist to your pain management program.

Experts estimate that 90% of disease is stress related, and that nothing ages us faster than our stressful lives. Eliminating anxiety and stress in our fast-paced world is unlikely, but regular weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly therapeutic massage & bodywork sessions, depending on your personal situation, can help manage it.There are obvious health benefits from receiving the work regularly ranging from treating chronic pain, neurological disorders, injuries, and alleviating tensions of our hectic lifestyles. Managing stress in our lives with regularly scheduled maintenance sessions will help keep those nagging, and sometimes debilitating, stress related soft tissue problems at bay.

Treating Achilles Tendinitis/Tendinosis

Releasing Achilles tendon fascia

Lengthening the tissue on each side of the Achilles tendon

Stretching the large calf muscles

Stretching the large calf muscles

Stretching the soleus, a key muscle in treating Achilles tendinitis

Stretching the soleus, a key muscle in treating Achilles tendinitis

The Achilles tendon, also known as the calcaneal tendon, is approximately six inches long, the strongest tendon in the body, and located on the backside of our lower leg. It attaches to our two calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus on the upper end, and to the calcaneus (heel bone) on the foot. It’s a strong tendon that handles the brunt of the high force loads required during motions such as walking, running, or landing from a jump. Achilles tendinitis (AT) or tendinosis can develop at any age, especially with those engaging in activities without proper conditioning, but is more prevalent in seniors.

Tendinosis is tearing of muscle or muscle-tendon fibers in the absence of inflammation. Tendinitis indicates inflammation of muscles and of muscle-tendon attachments. AT can be acute or chronic, and usually occurs at the insertion of the tendon at the calcaneus (heel bone), an area of poor blood circulation.

Not all tendon pathologies have inflammation and are more appropriately called tendinosis, however injury of the Achilles tendon usually involves inflammation resulting from overuse, so tendinitis is a more accurate designation when referring to an Achilles tendon problem.

 AT is described as a painful sensation on the backside of the heel that is aggravated with walking or running, and is a common lower extremity injury, especially among runners. If not treated properly, tendinitis causes further tendon weakening and can lead to either partial or complete tendon ruptures.

Causes: Repetitive motions of running, jumping, and landing on the toes are common causes of AT, and usually occur at the muscle-tendon junction of the two calf muscles (gastrocnemius & soleus), or where the tendon attaches to the calcaneus, an area which has very poor blood circulation, and can become the site of degenerative changes and damage to the Achilles tendon. Lack of tendon healing due to ischemia (without blood) at the calcaneus can contribute to this disorder.

A shortened and contracted soleus (deep calf muscle) from overuse is usually the main cause of AT. The soleus originates on the posterior surfaces of the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones) and attaches to the Achilles tendon just above the calcaneus.

Previous injuries or problems with calf muscle strength, foot pain, or posterior heel pain are factors that may indicate biomechanical deficiencies in the foot or ankle that aggravate Achilles tendon pathology.

Recent studies show a link between certain medications—antibodies such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) appear to produce tendon pathology in large tendons of the body, even in the absence of vigorous repeated activity.

In addition, systemic disorders such as hyperthyroidism, renal insufficiency, gout, or rheumatoid arthritis, can also contribute to AT.

Treatment: Fascia (tough connective tissue) surrounding the tendon is released with deep gentle myofascial spreading and stretch protocols. Connective tissue, that encases the gastrocnemius muscle and surrounds the Achilles tendon, is expanded with Myofascial Release techniques. Blood flow is increased at the capillary level, removing metabolic wastes, mobilizing the fascia, and allowing it to adapt to the new lengthened position.  Additional broadening and lengthening tight muscle bands, reducing trigger point activity, and softening any adhesions takes the tension off the Achilles tendon–key  components of the treatment.

Home Self Care: As soon as stretching is tolerable, it is helpful to stretch the Achilles tendon several times a day. Achilles tendon disorders are best controlled through rest and activity modification. Rest should not be confused with immobilization. Rest means stopping offending activities; Immobilization means inactivity, and may lead to the development of fibrous adhesions. Cold applications and anti-inflammatory medication are at times prescribed to address inflammation if present.

Stretching the calf muscles is important, especially the soleus—it’s indispensable. Note:  Most clients do not know that it’s necessary to flex the knee to 90 degrees to stretch the soleus.

Orthopedic Assessment in Massage Therapy, Whitney Lowe

Clinical Massage Therapy- A Structural Approach to Pain Management, James Waslaski

Therapeutic Breathing

Fourteen years ago I had an amazing  experience with a deep breathing protocol called “unlimited Breath”, an easy to learn breathing technique taught by Patrick Weseman, a yoga instructor. He said most of us are only breathing at 20% of our lung capacity, and challenges us to learn breathing techniques that could expand our capacity to 80% or more, with techniques that could bring positive change into our daily lives, help unlock our body’s natural ability to heal, and undo subconscious thoughts that limit day-to-day success.

I learned that the average oxygen level in our blood is between 60-70%, and when it rises to 80% and higher, amazing things can happen. We eliminate 70% of our toxins and waste through our breath, and gain greater vitality as we enhance our detoxifying system. It is said that breath is the bridge between the conscious and the subconscious and is one of our greatest healers. I was intrigued and signed up for ten sessions.

 Lying on my back on a massage table fully clothed, my mouth and throat are dry after deep continuous breathing for 10-15 minutes. It would have been easy to quit if it wasn’t for Patrick, sitting next to me, encouraging me to keep it up for another few minutes until, I was told, it would get easier and perhaps even pleasurable. It happened at around twenty minutes when my hands and arms started tingling slightly. He told me to start breathing normally again. Next, it felt like someone had their hand under my sacrum supporting and lifting me off the table. It was unbelievable! There was an intense feeling of aliveness and a deep awareness of the animating presence within my body. I was told that my deep breathing brought in more spirit and life into my being.

Next, both my arms slowly start raising up from my sides, on their own power without my control, until they are over my head and then feeling like someone is gently but firmly pulling on them creating a nice stretch. During this time I am alert and aware enough to know I do not want to resist this phenomenon, instead I’m letting go totally, and hoping it will last longer. It feels like I’m somewhere out in the universe and enjoying the extraordinary experience of this dramatic discovery my inner energy field.

This was only the first of ten sessions and pleasurable encounters, expanded or altered states of consciousness,  that dramatically confirmed the presence of my energy body, a phenomenon, which although unexplained, was real. I believe that the increased flow of energy through my body from the intense uninterrupted breathing moved my beta linear-thinking mind set into an expanded state, where, it is said, people seem more prone to change and to healing than in normal brain wave states.

Several years later during my Structural EnergeticTherapy training, I was introduced to a similar type of breathwork protocol for releasing emotional energy. Energy that becomes trapped in the body from  traumatic events such as, auto accidents, loss of a loved one, difficult relationships, abuse, etc. is detrimental to our overall health. The experience of releasing emotional energy oftentimes provides a profound sense of relaxation and personal discovery.

Treating Acute and Chronic Pain

Pain, is defined by Stedman’s Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing, as an unpleasant sensation associated with actual or potential tissue damage, and mediated by specific nerve fibers to the brain. It’s the most common reason we call physicians in the United States, a major symptom in many medical conditions, and can significantly interfere with a person’s quality of life and general functioning.

 My approach to pain management is structural, using a variety of advanced clinical massage therapy and bodywork modalities to treat both acute (personal injury) and chronic soft tissue pain, and tension from stress.

I am fortunate and grateful to have trained with some of the best clinical massage therapists and teachers in the business. Utilizing James Waslaski’s Orthopedic Massage and Don McCann’s Structural Energetic Therapy have most consistently provided long-term symptom-free results for my clients presenting with acute and chronic pain. Sessions are typically one to one and a half hour long and focus on eliminating the underlying cause of each clinical condition before addressing the symptoms, and releasing old structural patterns in order to rehabilitate and support a new postural alignment.

Clients who present with acute pain are usually auto accident victims with a current personal injury insurance claim and referred by their chiropractor or MD. Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions. Most common types of personal injury cases are a result of traffic accidents. The acute pain usually responds favorably to soft tissue treatment, resolves relatively soon after the painful stimulus is removed, and the tissue has healed.

Chronic pain persists 3-6 month since onset, though some researchers have placed the transition from acute to chronic pain at 12 months. Most of my clients suffer with chronic pain, including neck pain, upper and low back pain, TMJ syndrome, carpal tunnel, frozen shoulder, tendinitis, thoracic outlet, knee and hip pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, and trigger finger.

Structural integration helps the body return to structural and functional postural alignment by removing tensions and restrictions from acute and chronic pain in areas that have been held tight, and by further balancing myofascial relationships throughout the entire body. Muscular imbalances responsible for the primary area of discomfort are corrected, pain dissipates, and range of motion improves.

Personal injury auto accident insurance cases are accepted. An active claim number and a referral from a chiropractor or MD are required for me to invoice your insurance company directly.

Softening and lengthening the plantar fascia

Softening and lengthening the plantar fascia

Lengthening the Quadratus Lumborum in treating low back pain

Lengthening the Quadratus Lumborum in treating low back pain