Tag Archives: Injury

DYSFUNCTIONS RESPONDING TO CLINICAL MASSAGE

Occasionally referred to as an orthopedic massage, Clinical massage is an entire array of manipulation techniques designed to assess and then to minister to soft tissue injuries and these may include but are not limited to: massage therapy, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, muscle-energy techniques, craniosacral therapy, deep tissue massage and so on. The Clinical massage therapy is usually based on a physicians prescription and directives as a series of treatment sessions to be performed over a set period of time and at specified frequency as related only to a specific need. In that regard, this therapy is most often performed with a particular and purposeful outcome in mind, and its first and foremost objectives are to relieve pain, to increase the range of motion and to help repair and restore soft tissues such as muscles, tendons and ligaments to their normal and healthy functions.

The first of the doctor-prescribed set of sessions is predominantly devoted to assessment or diagnostics of the clients true condition and with all the data collected an action plan can be formulated:

* By using various levels of palpation or touching of the ailing body part, the massage therapist will pinpoint the exact location as well as determine the levels of pain.

* The range of motion and the strength of the muscles is tested through a sequence of movements such as a passive movement which involves the massage therapist moving the relevant muscle groups while the client is inert; an active movement which involves the clients own movement of the muscles in questions; and the resisted movement which involves the clients movement against a resisting force.

* If clinical data related to previous soft tissue injuries and massage therapy is available, it will be reviewed for comparison to the current situation and the phase of healing will be determined.

* The findings are closely reviewed along with the doctors orders and a customized Clinical massage therapy is drawn up.

Most every condition of the soft tissues can benefit from Clinical massage to some extent, but the following list displays dysfunctions which respond most advantageously to its application:

Myofascial Pain. Pain and physiological dysfunctions are known to begin at specific points within muscles and their connective tissues which are also known as fascia. These are appropriately referred to as trigger points because they tend to set off or trigger reactions at remote locations.

Scientists and researchers have successful recorded comprehensive map systems of myofascial trigger points and they have been able to identify dozens of dysfunctions relating to them. The most common of these are: carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ dysfunction, PMS, headache, diarrhea, dizziness, cardiac arrhythmia, indigestion, tennis elbow, urinary frequency, sinusitis, deafness and blurred vision.

Fascial Plane Dysfunction. Fascia covers nearly the entire body in large endlessly connected sheets which can be distorted and bound to themselves and nearby tissues when inflicted with injury, misalignment or a chemical imbalance. To promote optimal health, the fascial sheets and the blood vessels and nerves which follow them must be in good conditions.

Neuromuscular Dysfunction. Even the simplest and the tiniest of movements of the body requires armies of nerve impulses to be sent to the muscle which is directly involved, as well as to the adjoining and opposing muscles. And it must all be accomplished with precision of timing and proportions. When the mechanics of any part of these functions break down, muscle fibers or entire muscles lock.

Tonus System Dysfunction. Overused muscles become hypertonic or lose their ability to relax. Consequently, they tighten and cause stress on opposing muscles and on the joints they cross.

Dermatomic Dysfunction. When nerves are pinched anywhere along their path, pain will be delivered to the area they serve.

Spondylogenic Dysfunction. When joints of the spine are impaired or compressed, pain will occur in that specific area.

Stated more simply, people suffering from muscle or joint pains or tightness, muscle fatigue or tension, shooting or spreading pains, allergies or asthma, anxiety or depression, irregularity of the digestive system, arthritis or circulatory problems, sleep disorders, headaches, immune function disorders or stress, they can be helped as their symptoms can be relieved through Clinical massage.

PPPPP

(Word Count 698)

THE HOT STONE MASSAGE

The Hot Stone massage is a therapeutic massage technique in which a heated stone is held by the massage therapist who uses it to apply the customary and traditional Swedish massage strokes. Because they have the tendency to absorb heat and retain it for extended periods of time, the stones which are used are usual smooth, black volcanic basalt rocks of various sizes and shapes. For the most part, these rocks are heated in water at 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Native Americans are known to also have used hot stones for medicinal purposes but those were heated by direct fire. This technique of fire-heated stones was restored by Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona and she trademarked it as LaStone Therapy.

Primarily due to the effects of the heat from the stones, the Hot Stone massage is profoundly calming and delightfully relaxing as it rapidly releases the tension out of every soft tissue, be it muscle, tendon or ligament, which is included in this treatment while gentle and comforting peace washes over the client almost immediately. The hot stones are used throughout the entire session to massage, to stroke, to press, to manipulate and to knead the clients soft tissues. On occasion, heated stones are laid out to rest at strategic spots along the spine as well as in the palms of the clients hands and between the toes. This maneuver promotes the optimal flow of energy throughout the entire body. As soon as the stones cool down, the massage therapist will replace them with newly heated ones but areas that are inflamed, injured or swollen, will often be treated with cold stones instead of the hot ones.

To derive the most out of the Hot Stone massage therapy, clients are encouraged to:

* Indicate any discomforts such as those which might be created by stones which are too hot, by the massage therapist applying pressure with too much force, by the background music which may be too loud, by the room temperature which could be too hot or too cold and so on.

* Refrain from consuming a heavy meal and to abstain from ingesting any amount of alcohol shortly before the session.

* Arrive in plenty of time to check in and to relax before the treatment.

* Take a sauna, a steam bath or a hot tub before the session as it will relax and soften the muscles for better end results from the entire treatment. If the hot tub was treated with chlorine, the clients are asked to take hot showers in order to rinse off the chemical.

* Remove all their clothing and be assured that they will remain completely covered with a towel. This will give the massage therapist better access and direct contact with the skin.

* Take slow, deep breaths throughout the session as it helps to relax the body and release more toxins.

* To banish irrelevant thoughts from racing through their heads by concentrating on the feel of the therapists movements over their bare skins.

* Get off the massage table after the session very slowly as dizziness may set in otherwise.

* Absorb the full results of the massage treatment by allowing some quiet time in a peaceful place.

* Drink extra water after the massage to flush out and wash away the toxins released during the treatment.

The Hot Stone massage is beneficial in many ways as it promotes deep muscle and soft tissue relaxation, eases stress, releases toxins, alleviates pain, improves circulation and calms the mind. Quite appropriately, therefore, there is an impressive list of ailments which are treated with Hot Stone massages and they are:

* Muscle aches and pains due to over use, injury or stress.
* Back pain caused by injury, poor posture or misuse.
* Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
* Arthritis.
* Fibromyalgia.
* Stress, anxiety, nervousness and depression.
* Insomnia.
* Any number of circulatory problems.

The Hot Stone massage requires specialized training, it involved more preparation time for disinfecting and heating the stones, the session are often somewhat longer than usual and more time is spent cleaning up. As a consequence, the Hot Stone massage tends to be more costly than any other conventional and basic Swedish massage. But it is worth it and you are worthy of it!

PPPPP

(Word Count 723)

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF MASSAGE THERAPY

In an attempt to understand how and why massage therapy is as effective as it seems to be, scientists and medical researchers from around the world have been studying it for decades. Some characteristics of massage therapy have been conclusively resolved with apparent consensus among the learned scholars, while other characteristics remain as inexplicably mysterious as ever. For instance, they all agree that when a certain amount of pressure is applied to a soft tissue such as a muscle, some changes occur within the affected muscles. They also all tend to agree that massage therapy promotes relaxation and reduces the stress which often leads to deterioration or worsening of certain physiological conditions.

Those characteristics of massage therapy which have not yet been explained by conventional science, gave rise to a number of theories and postulates. You will note that they are all prefaced with the word might to indicate uncertainty as they described possible health benefits of massage therapy:

* Might provide stimulation that may help block pain signals transmitted to the brain and this is called the gate control theory of decreasing or alleviating pain.

* Might promote better health by stimulating the lymphatic system to increase the flow of lymph, which is the secretion that carries disease fighting cells through the body.

* Might re-route the clients nervous system away from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic. In doing so, the fight-or-flight reaction of the sympathetic nervous system with its increased heart and breathing rates along with tightened muscles of distress are shunned in favor of the rest-and-digest reaction of the parasympathetic nervous system with its lowered heart rate, slowed breathing and relaxed muscles.

* Might be instrumental in effecting beneficial changes in the body by preventing fibrosis through the process of breaking up scar-like tissue

* Might arouse the body to discharge chemicals such as serotonin or endorphins which area known to give people the feelings of wellbeing.

* Might improve sleep patterns which is essential to pain control and healing processes.

* Might contribute to the overall mental and physiological health by the intimate interaction between the client and the therapist.

The following are specific cases and their reported benefits whether they are understood or merely observed with bewilderment:

* Students at a New Jersey Medical School who were given massage therapy before an exam displayed less anxiety, lower respiratory rates, a substantial increase in white blood cells and an enhanced immune system.

* Cancer patients at the James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio experienced less pain and decreased anxiety after receiving massage therapies than those who did not get such treatments.

* Studies at the University of South Carolina show that women who recently lost a child were less depressed after massage therapy.

* The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that massage therapy improved weight gain in infants who were premature or those who were exposed to HIV. They also determined that massage therapy expedites recovery in patients who had abdominal surgery.

* Researchers at the University of the Miami School of Medicines Touch Research Institute discovered that massage therapy decreases high blood pressure, relieves migraine headaches, and generally increases alertness and performance in the workforce.

* Many additional studies confirm that massage therapy reduces heart rates, lowers blood pressure; increases blood circulation and lymph flow; relaxes stiffened and tense muscles while stimulating weak and inactive muscles to compensate for lack of movement due to an illness or an injury; speeds up the healing process after surgeries, disease and injuries; improves the range of vision; increases endorphins; reduces anxiety, tension, depression, pain and itching in burn patients; and Autistic children exhibit calmer and more predictable behavior.

So, is massage therapy beneficial? Yes! Massage therapy is beneficial on, oh, so many levels. The mechanics of the process may not be clear just yet, but the outcomes are undeniable by anyones standards.

PPPPP

(Word Count 654)

THE DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE

The deep tissue massage is a kind of massage therapy which centers its attention primarily on the ailing, the sore, the painful and the distressed deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues. Its therapeutic benefits are particularly beneficial for chronically tight and constricted areas such as in cases of stiff necks, tightness of lower backs and aching shoulders. The strokes of the Deep Tissue massage are not very different from those of any other types of massage therapies but they are slower and with more pressure applied to reach deeper while focusing on troubled areas.

The Deep Tissue massage is so important in certain painful contractions and spasms due to stress, strain or injury because that is the only way to get to the root of the problem as it is embedded deep under the surface where adhesions which are the causes of the pain and rigidity in muscles, tendons and ligaments are found. Left to their own wills, adhesions obstruct circulation in the affected areas to limit the blood flow which leads to the pain, the restricted movement and, ultimately, to the inflammation. By applying firm pressure and direct friction across the grain and fabric of the muscles, the Deep Tissue massage aims to break down those troublesome adhesions to restore proper blood circulation, reinstate full movement and heal the inflamed tissues. The therapists performing the Deep Tissue massage may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows and forearms during the therapy session and alternate them during the various stages. Clients are frequently asked to take in deep breaths as the therapists dig deeply into a particularly tense area.

Because the Deep Tissue massage is somewhat intense, it should not be applied under the following conditions:

* Infectious skin disease, rashes, bruises, inflamed skin, tumors or open and unhealed wounds.
* Immediately or soon after surgery or recent fractures.
* Immediately or soon after chemotherapy or radiation treatments, unless approved by the clients physician.
* Osteoporosis patients, unless approved by the treating doctor.
* Clients who are prone to blood clots.
* Heart disease patients, unless recommended by their cardiologists.
* Pregnant women should get their massage treatments from professionals who are certified in pregnancy massage.
* Abdominal hernia.

The good news is that Deep Tissue massage really works and it usually works very fast. Often, clients will walk into a session with excruciating pain and walk out a couple of hours later with smiles of relief on their faces. The bad news is that, depending on their tolerance level to pain, most clients experience it to one degree or another at certain point during the session. In addition, there is usually some measure of soreness immediately after the treatment which can last up to an entire day. However, the pain of the Deep Tissue massage therapy and the lingering soreness afterwards is nothing compared to the pain before the treatment and it comes with the knowledge that it will all be over very shortly. The massage therapist may suggest applying an icepack to the sore area but it is rarely severe enough to warrant it.

When most massage therapies are aimed at relaxation of the body and mind and the massage is generally applied to the entire body, the Deep Tissue massage sets its sights on precise problematic areas such as those afflicted with:

* Chronic or acute pains
* Diminished mobility or limited range of motion.
* Healing areas after traumas or injuries caused by falls, sports injuries, whiplashes from car accidents and so on.
* Strains from repetitive motion such as the carpal tunnel syndrome.
* Pains due to incorrect posturing of the body.
* Pains from osteoarthritis. According to a study conducted and reported by the Consumer Reports magazine, over 34,000 people classified Deep Tissue massage therapy as being more effective in alleviating osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, glucosamine, diets, acupuncture or chiropractic treatments.
* Fibromyalgia. Statistics have shown that Deep Tissue massage is more successful in easing symptoms of Fibromyalgia than any other available curative remedy.
* Muscle tension, contractions or spasms.

To flush out metabolic waste from the massaged tissues, clients should drink plenty of water after the Deep Tissue massage therapy and enjoy the fact that they are as good as new again.

PPPPP

(Word Count 718)