CranioSacral Therapy is a light-touch approach that can facilitate dramatic improvements in your health and well-being. It was founded by Dr. John Upledger an Osteopathic Physician who did clinical trials and extensive scientific research at Michigan State University from 1975-1983 to prove the effects of CranioSacral Therapy on the body and how it works. It releases tension and restrictions in tissue, both superficial and deep in the body. It helps to relieve pain and dysfunction while improving whole-body health and performance. This therapy can be performed while you are fully clothed while lying down on a massage table or it may be integrated with a personalized massage session. This therapy is deeply relaxing stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System and producing a state of calmness. People sometimes fall asleep during their sessions. CranioSacral Therapy can help with a wide range of problems such as TMJD (jaw joint dysfunction), Scoliosis, Lordosis, Kyphosis (curvatures in spine), headaches, neck and back pain, chronic pain issues such as Fibromyalgia, and other connective tissue disorders, concussion or traumatic brain injuries, PSTD, immunity and stress relief.
The beautiful thing is, natural remedies such as massage and functional movement can halt—and, some people say—even reverse the painful and debilitating symptoms of arthritis.
Clients who suffer from osteoarthritis report feeling persistent, deep pain and stiffness around at least one joint every day.
Pain is exacerbated when a joint is not properly warmed up or has been overused
Weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips are most affected, but osteoarthritis may also be found among the distal joints of the fingers; the wrists; neck; and the ankles.
Osteoarthritis pain is often debilitating if it occurs in the knees or hips, where movement is limited and pain is exacerbated by simple, crucial activities like walking, getting up and down to go to the bathroom, and generally movement.
Factors that contribute to developing osteoarthritis include aging, weight, and stresses on the joints, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Additional contributing factors of osteoarthritis include surgery, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, dehydration and anything that may trigger an inflammatory response, such as stress or an inflammatory diet.
These may all disturb the delicate balance that creates cartilage, leaving a joint more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis.
A joint that has been chronically traumatized or dislocated may lead to excessively lax ligaments, raising the risk of injury to both a joint and its cartilage, and contributing to osteoarthritis.
Likewise, muscle imbalance—often a result of postural distortions from prolonged sitting and/or excessive repetitive movements—pulls a joint out of alignment and may misshape the joint in a way that prematurely degrades articular cartilage.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis yourself, note that excessive weight increases the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis, as it increases stress on a joint. In fact, clinically obese people are four times more likely to develop osteoarthritis than the rest of the population.
Visualizing the anatomical world deep beneath the flesh provides a pathway for us to more effectively help our osteoarthritic clientele.
There are three major types of joints: synovial, such as those of the hip, knee and facet joints; cartilaginous, such as those found at the disks between spinal vertebrae; and fibrous, such as sutures found in the skull.
Synovial joints are the most common joints in our body and are at highest risk for developing osteoarthritis.
Healthy synovial joints are formed by the articulation of two bones. Articular, or hyaline, cartilage covers, lines and connect the ends of bones.
A joint capsule wraps around the connecting bones, and a synovial membrane lines the inside of the joint capsule and houses synovial (egg-like consistency) fluid. The articular cartilage and synovial fluid inside healthy synovial joints provide a nonbinding, smooth and slippery surface.
Ligaments connect the bones outside the joint capsule and add support and stability. When healthy cartilage gets damaged, osteoarthritis is often the result.
Articular cartilage is at the center of joint dysfunction and degeneration, leading to the pain experienced with osteoarthritis.
Articular cartilage consists of a small number of cells called chondrocytes that are constantly working to rebuild and replace the cartilage surface.
Chondrocytes create collagen, which is arranged in differing patterns, allowing for the articular cartilage to absorb shock and reduce friction during movement.
When damage to cartilage occurs, chondrocytes avoid the area and no longer provide it with cushioning support.
The cartilage then degrades and osteocytes (bone cells) become overly active to make up for the loss of cartilaginous support. Osteocytes may become either osteoblasts (bone-building cells) or osteoclasts (bone-eating cells).
If osteoblasts are activated the likelihood of osteophytes or bone spurs increases, and the condyles of the bone may become enlarged, painful and distorted.
Conversely, if osteoclasts are activated, cyst-like cavities may form under the cartilage of the affected bone, limiting joint support.
Clients who present with osteoarthritis rarely have acute inflammation, indicated by redness, heat and tender swelling. Without the presence of these signs of acute inflammation, we may safely apply massage therapy on osteoarthritis clients without the risk of secondary tissue damage.
The exact biochemical mechanism behind massage’s relief for osteoarthritis is still under investigation; however, research has indicated massage can lower the body’s stress hormone, cortisol, and increase serotonin production.
Numerous research studies have indicated massage therapy is a safe and effective natural approach to reducing osteoarthritis symptoms.
One study by Tiffany Field, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine found massage can lower the amount of substance P, a neurotransmitter associated with pain.
An article titled “Benefits of Massage,” published on the website of the Arthritis Foundation, notes that massage therapy can help clients sleep better, “which in turn gives the body greater opportunity to heal.”
In 2012, JAMA Internal Medicine, a publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association, published “Massage Therapy for Osteoarthritis of the Knee,” which indicated massage therapy helped recipients feel less pain and stiffness; increased range of motion; and improved the time it took to walk 50 feet.
Field and her colleagues have also demonstrated in various studies that massaging clients with osteoarthritis decreases pain from arthritis as well as stiffness, while it increases mobility, strength and overall function of the joints.
Why might an arthritis patient choose massage over conventional medicine?
Some pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medications tax the liver and kidneys. And regular use—especially of opiate drugs—may require increased dosages in response to the drug tolerance effect, as well as increased risk of falls and fractures.
Surgery increases the risks of blood clots and complications with anesthesia, and though the numbers are low, risk for infection and nerve damage may occur.
Encouragement and accountability are parts of our job when we become members of a client’s healing team; therefore, it is important to recommend frequency of massage treatment.
In 2012, PLOS ONE published “Massage therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized dose-finding trial,” which recommended one 60-minute massage session per week.
“Given the superior convenience of a once-weekly protocol, cost savings, and consistency with a typical real-world massage protocol, the 60-minute once weekly dose was determined to be optimal, establishing a standard for future trials,” the researchers noted.
As massage therapists, we are always looking for the best ways to support our clients and relieve painful conditions based on both science and our experience.
We have found encouraging muscle balance via massage is key to relieving pain from arthritis and encouraging joint alignment
The Arthritis Foundation advocates one treatment option over all others: movement.
The Foundation’s 5K Walk to Cure Arthritis event takes place at locations throughout the U.S. annually, and is sponsored in part by Massage Envy Spa, which has also raised more than $3 million for arthritis research through its one-day annual event, Healing Hands for Arthritis
A growing number of baby boomers need relief from osteoarthritis, and your aging clients and your practice can both benefit if you specialize in massage therapy for those living with this condition.
Network with local chiropractors, osteopaths, physical therapists, yoga studios and physicians who specialize in geriatrics and functional medicine, to let them know about your practice and the benefits of massage for clients with osteoarthritis.
Massage therapy is a valuable addition to traditional osteoarthritis treatments. It also supports the mind-body connection, leading to more positive attitudes about the body and greater ease and flow throughout life.
When you schedule your next massage session, why not consider a Himalayan Salt Stone massage session?
The benefits are amazing. You can see the effects of the salt after one session. Your skin, body and mind will thank you! Himalayan Salt Stones provide 84 essential mineral and trace compounds. The stones can be used in conjunction with other massage techniques. Salt Stones can be used hot or cold and unlike River Stones, Himalayan Stones have anti micro-bacterial properties.
Benefits of a Himalayan Salt Stone Massage:
- Negative ions are produced when heated creating a sense of peace and a deeper sense of relaxation.
- The heat of the salt melts restrictive fascia to go deeper into the muscles and loosens the joints.
- The moist heat of the stones can assist with soothing inflamed muscles and joints.
- Leaves the skin feeling refreshed and glowing.
- The salt stones moisturize and plump up the superficial layers of the skin.
- May detoxify and alkaline the body.
- May aid in better sleep, reduce blood pressure and stress.
Himalayan Salt Stones can ground and balance meridian levels, Chakras and clear your Prana.
At least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Pain relief pills can help to a certain extent but primary care providers in the U.S. are wary of prescribing large doses of painkillers as it may lead to addiction.
A study found that yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and other complementary healthcare approaches can help in managing serious and chronic pain. Americans spend more than $14 billion on such complementary healthcare approaches to manage such painful conditions.
The study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings focused on five common pain conditions: back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, severe headaches and migraine, and fibromyalgia.
Researchers from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health examined 105 U.S.-based randomized controlled trials from 1966 to March 2016 and were relevant to patients in the U.S.
None of the trials reported any significant side effects as a result of employing complementary approaches in dealing with chronic pain.
The study showed promise in treating back pain with acupuncture and yoga, osteoarthritis of the knee with acupuncture and tai chi, neck pain with massage therapy and suggested the use of relaxation techniques in alleviating severe headaches and migraines.
“For many Americans who suffer from chronic pain, medications may not completely relieve pain and can produce unwanted side effects. As a result, many people may turn to nondrug approaches to help manage their pain,” Richard L Nahin, lead author of the study and NCCIH’s lead epidemiologist said in a statement.
“Our goal for this study was to provide relevant, high-quality information for primary care providers and for patients who suffer from chronic pain,” he added.
The researchers also found that massage therapy, spinal manipulation and osteopathic manipulation can provide some relief for patients suffering from back pain. Relaxation techniques and tai chi can help patients with fibromyalgia. However, evidence for these findings were weaker.
“These data can equip providers and patients with the information they need to have informed conversations regarding non-drug approaches for treatment of specific pain conditions,” deputy director of NCCIH David Shurtleff said. “It’s important that continued research explore how these approaches actually work and whether these findings apply broadly in diverse clinical settings and patient populations.”
After hearing a lot about Cupping Therapy lately, I decided it was time to learn something about it. WebMD claims that supporters of cupping therapy believe the suction of the cups mobilizes blood flow to promote the healing of a broad range of medical ailments. Cupping therapy dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians were using cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.
Now I was really curious so I decided to experience Cupping for myself. I’ve enjoyed my sessions very much, so much that I am participating in a Cupping Certification Course in July 2016.
I want to have a conversation with you about Cupping and see if there is interest in this service in the Ann Arbor area. I’d like to just get a feel for how other people view this kind of therapy. I understand that a lot of people have never seen nor heard of Cupping so this would be a good conversation to be a part of. Or maybe you have experienced cupping and would like to share that experience with us. This will help me know what to look for as I begin my certification course.
I should tell everyone now that I will NOT be doing “Wet” Cupping where the skin is punctured and you actually draw blood. I will be practicing “Dry” Cupping. Here is a helpful video that shows a “Dry” Cupping technique, you should also know that I will not be using the method that involves an open flame. After you watch the video come back and let me know what you think in a comment below.