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.
Most people still view massages as a luxury item. They feel like they are spoiling themselves by booking a massage whether it’s a 30-minute massage, one-hour massage or a four-hour spa day. But some business leaders are starting to look at massage more as a necessity just like working out and eating healthy. Study after study keeps touting the benefits of massage. As a result, many executives are changing their mindset from thinking of massage as a nice treat to thinking of massage as an essential item in their routine that helps them perform at the top of their game. Here are five reasons why you should stop making excuses and book that massage today.
2. Massage can help reduce pain and even boost your immune system. According to the Mayo Clinic, massage has proven to be an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. Some studies have also found that massage can help people suffering from anxiety, headaches, digestive disorders, sports injuries, joint pain, fibromyalgia and lower back pain. Considering how many executives sit at their desks for long hours, suffering from neck and back pain, a therapeutic massage may be just what they need to feel better, think clearer and be more productive. Not too mention a growing body of research now indicates that massage can help boost your immune system. If you want to avoid taking time off for being sick and stay healthy during cold and flu season, scheduling a weekly massage may help. Having a massage on a regular basis increases the activity level of the body’s white blood cells that fight viruses.
3. Massage can help increase your productivity. For the past 20 years, there have been studies linking massage to improved brainpowerand productivity. That may explain why roughly 11% companies offered workplace massages to employees in 2015 and 3% of companies planned to add corporate massage in the next 12 months, according to asurvey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Corporate massages typically involve having a massage therapist come to the office and provide 15-minute or 30-minute chair massages for employees.
5. Massage can reduce stress symptoms. Massage helps alleviate stress, but it’s more than just the dim lights, calming music and healing touch helping the body to relax. Research suggests that frequent massage reduces cortisol, which is a major stress hormone, and high levels of cortisol have been linked to high blood pressure, suppressed immune system function and obesity. And you don’t need an hour-long massage to reduce cortisol levels or lower stress. Studies have found that even a brief 15-minute chair massage once a week can reduce stress systems.
Richeson recommends business leaders should schedule a massage on a weekly basis or every 10 days. Some of her clients, in extremely stressful positions, schedule massages twice a week. She says that the type of massage she provides often varies based on what the executive’s work week or day is like. She treats her business clients similar to her athletes. Some days they may need a deep tissue massage because they had a stressful meeting and other times they need a Swedish massage or relaxation massage. Most executives workout and eat right because they know that exercise and good nutrition helps your mind, Richeson explains. “On the same level, massage gets your mind working the right way because it helps to balance everything—workouts, job, family and life.”
It’s relatively easy to find massage services today—whether it’s a chair massage, private massage, massage at a day spa or even a massage at a hotel while travelling. Richeson’s advice is to make sure you have a credited masseuse who was recommended by someone you know and, if you feel uncomfortable at any point, stop the massage. “It is a relationship and someone that you are vulnerable with the majority of the time. You have to trust the person,” she says.
Massage may be the missing piece of the puzzle for many business leaders. “When you get a massage, it is about you,” says Richeson. “You don’t have to talk to this person. It is not about anyone but you. People need that. We need to be nurtured.”
Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg
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.
1) Am I supposed to tip?
If you get a massage at a spa or hotel, a 15% to 20% tip is standard if you were pleased with the services. On the other hand, there are no real ground rules or norms when it comes to massage in a medical setting.
Some massage therapists and massage associations I asked said tipping isn’t appropriate in a medical or clinical setting. Others said that it is always appreciated.
If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask if tipping is customary. You can call ahead to ask if you don’t want to do it face to face.
If tipping isn’t the norm, you can always show your appreciation by referring friends, family and co-workers to the massage therapist.
2) Am I supposed to take off my underwear?
Many people prefer to keep their panties or briefs on during a massage, while others prefer to be completely nude. It’s up to you.
If your problem areas are your lower back, hips, buttocks, or groin, tight-fitting underwear can sometimes get in the way of massage work, but a thong for women or briefs for men should do the trick.
In North America, if you do remove your underwear, licensed massage therapists must ensure that you are always properly covered by a sheet or towel. Only the area being massaged will be uncovered.
3) What if I realize I’ve drooled?
Many people fall into a peaceful slumber during the massage but when they wake up, they notice a pool of drool on the pillow or massage table.
This is very common. It often happens when people are being massaged while lying face down on the massage table. Don’t be afraid to ask the massage therapist for a tissue.
4) Will the massage therapist be there when I undress?
In North America, the massage therapist will leave the room so that you can remove your clothing and lie on the massage table (usually face down) under the top sheet.
Don’t rush or worry that the massage therapist will walk in on you — the massage therapist knocks and asks if you are ready before entering the massage room.
5) Should I talk during the massage?
Although some people prefer to talk throughout the massage, don’t feel like you have to make conversation with the massage therapist. After all, you’re having a treatment, you’re not at a cocktail party!
Feel free to close your eyes and relax, which is what most people do.
Deep tissue massage and sports massage are just some of the types of massage that require more feedback. The massage therapist often works on deeper layers of muscle and will want to ensure that the pressure is not uncomfortable.
Be sure to speak up if:
- The room is too hot or too cold
- You experience pain
- You have any questions related to the massage
- There’s anything you forgot to mention during the consultation
6) What if I get an erection?
Some men avoid massage therapy because they worry that they’ll get an erection. Or they get the massage, but are unable to relax during the massage because of this fear.
But there is no reason to be embarrassed. It’s perfectly normal for men to get an erection during a non-sexual, therapeutic massage.
Gentle touch administered to any area of the body can activate the parasympathetic nervous system and cause a partial or full erection. Your massage therapist (male or female) understands this and will generally ignore it.
If you are still worried, you may wish to wear a men’s bikini bathing suit during the massage, which provides more support than boxers.
7) How do I know if it’s a legitimate clinic?
Although you might think massage parlors that offer sensual or erotic massage may look obviously seedy, it can be sometimes be difficult to spot these places.
If you’re trying a new clinic or spa, it’s a good idea to call first and ask these questions:
- Do you offer therapeutic massage?
- Is the massage therapist certified or licensed?
- Do you require a health questionnaire of your clients?
A licensed massage therapist will not come into contact with your genitals or nipples during the massage.
8) The pressure isn’t deep enough, but I don’t want to insult the therapist’s technique. What should I do?
Communicate openly with the massage therapist. Keep in mind however that it’s a myth that massage therapy has to hurt to be effective.
Some of the most effective types of massage therapy are gentle and do not involve deep pressure or pain. In fact, too much pressure can cause muscles to seize up.
Here is a good rule of thumb — on a scale of one to 10 where one is no pain and 10 is extremely painful, the pressure should always be less than seven.
9) I’m self-conscious about a certain part of my body and don’t want the therapist to see me. What can I do?
People are self-conscious for various reasons. Some of the more common concerns are:
- I’m overweight.
- I have excessive hair growth on my body.
- I’ve got acne on my face or back.
- My feet are ugly.
- I have scars.
Being self-conscious should never keep you from seeking health care, whether it’s visiting your doctor or seeing a massage therapist.
If you’re self-conscious about a certain part of your body, you can ask the massage therapist to avoid that area.
You can even bring your own comfortable clothes to wear.
Just remember to provide complete and accurate information on your health history form, so that the massage therapist is aware of any precautions or contraindications.
10) I’d rather see a female therapist. Should I request this?
Some men don’t feel comfortable having a massage by a male massage therapist. It may be due to outdated social and media stereotypes of the profession or the fear of getting an erection during the massage.
Erection is a common physiological response that happens when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated by touch anywhere on the body.)
Some women also prefer a female massage therapist because they say they feel more comfortable.
This doesn’t just apply to massage therapy.
A University of Michigan study found that 43 percent of women preferred a female doctor for a colonoscopy. Of these women, 87 percent said they would be willing to wait more than 30 days to get an appointment with a female colonoscopist, and 14 percent would be willing to pay more for one.
Unfortunately, men who choose to become massage therapists are often unprepared for the discrimination they face.
When clients request female over male therapists, spas stop hiring them, however skilled they are.
That’s why I believe it’s important to challenge your preconceptions. Here are some tips to help you:
- If you see other practitioners in the clinic or spa, ask if you could meet the massage therapist before you book the appointment.
- Try booking a massage at a health club or a clinic, where there’s usually a higher percentage of male clientele and staff.
- You may wish to start with an active form of massage, such as deep tissue or sports massage or a type of massage that is done fully clothed, such as shiatsu or Thai massage.
Using Massage Therapy
If you’re considering the use of massage therapy, talk with your doctor first. Keep in mind that massage therapy, or any other alternative medicine, should not be used as a substitute for standard care in the treatment of a health condition.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.
Posted by Simeon Niel Asher on
The instinct we have when something is hurting is not to use the painful area. Whereas this may be appropriate for other problems, such as a fracture or ligament sprain, it is not so for a “Frozen Shoulder”.
Classically the frozen shoulder patient we see comes in holding the arm in a protective posture. They tend to hunch the affected shoulder forward, bend the arm at the elbow, and cradle the arm close to the body even supporting it with the other arm. This position is very important to avoid as it only compounds the problem. In this position the biceps muscle is contracted, stressing the tendon and causing further shortening. It is far better to try to keep the arm straight allowing the arm to hang along the side of the body. This position stretches the biceps tendon; the weight of the arm also slightly separates the shoulder joint which will allow fluid back into the shoulder capsule.
Admittedly there are times when the shoulder is so acutely painful that all you can do is rest and put ice onto it. But it is beneficial to get started as soon as possible with regular, gentle exercises. These will help to:
• Aid the recovery and shorten the duration of your frozen shoulder. Prolonged immobility will only make the stiffness worse and allow inflammation to build up in and around the shoulder tissues, thus creating more pain.
• Significantly speed up your recovery. There is plenty of research evidence that shows that the cells which make fibrous bands in muscles (fibroblasts) respond well to mechanical activity. Exercise and stretching loosens the scar tissue that builds up in damaged muscles, and promotes increased healing.
• Have a positive effect on general well-being. We often hear from patients about the general feeling of helplessness that is associated with a frozen shoulder, “there is nothing I can do”. Exercise helps to combat a lowered mood and allows you to “take charge” of the situation. Also exercise releases endorphins which have a well documented positive effect on mood.
• Improve muscle function and co-ordination. Right from day 1 of your frozen shoulder there is a loss of mutual muscle co-ordination and co-operation of the rotator cuff muscles. This occurs at the level of the brain. Exercising daily helps to reverse these effects.
• Stretch the sore and damaged muscle fibres in a controlled, coordinated and constructive way; lengthening the contracted and damaged areas within the muscles.
Are there any risks in exercising a frozen shoulder?
Really the risks of not exercising are much worse. As long as you avoid that sharp, catching type of pain that is associated with the early phases of your frozen shoulder there should be no risk of making the shoulder worse. Do follow these simple rules:
Always exercise to potential. It is important especially initially – to start gently. Start with something that you know you can handle and step it up. Going into a major exercise routine too quickly will only make you sore!!
If it hurts stop!! Doing exercise that is painful is not beneficial – there are some people who have the attitude “no pain, no gain” this may be true in some cases but not in relation to rehabilitation exercises. Some slight aching in the shoulder during and after exercise can be expected but if it makes the pain worse you are doing too much.
Make sure you are doing the exercises correctly. If it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t, so try something else or check with your therapist for further advice.
We know massage will make us move better and feel happier, but not everyone can make time for regular appointments. Luckily, massage is great preventive care and it can have some instantly-gratifying results. Check out these 3 things massage can help you with right now.
Tension headaches (often called stress headaches) are the most common type of headaches among adults.
Pain or pressure in your forehead or on the top or sides of your head? Could be a tension headache. It’s especially likely if you’ve been hunching over a desk or some knitting, spent a ton of time in a car, or if you’re still shivering and huddling to keep warm as spring slowly creeps in.
Massage can help get rid of that headache and regular massage may well keep it from coming back. (If you want to geek out about tension headaches and try a few self-massage techniques, check out this article.)
Low Back Pain
A major research study was published in 2011 showing that massage therapy was better than drugs and usual care for general lower back pain. Better than drugs. I just had to say that twice.
Just about everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their life. If it happens to you, don’t suffer. Schedule a massage and get back into action.
Have you ever been so cranky you got on your own nerves? Yeah, me, too. It isn’t fun. When you feel yourself biting everyone’s head off when they ask you a question, it might be time for some self-care.
Massage is great for stress relief. You get to shut off all the things that buzz and chime and aggravate you to the point of eye twitches. Music, silence, warmth, massage. All the cranky disappears.
This is dual purpose. You’ll feel better and all the people around you will be happier that you’re back to your sunny self.
Got a headache, low back pain, or a case of the grumpies? Get a massage scheduled and we’ll handle that fast.
Exercise and sports are an integral part of everyday life for many people. The 2015 Physical Activity Council Report noted that 209 million active Americans participate in a variety of fitness activities, from running and playing basketball to biking and hiking.
Engaging in sports and physical activity sometimes comes with a price. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, in 2012 nearly two million individuals experienced some sort of sports-related injury that required medical attention in the emergency room.
Whether your clients prefer individual or team sports, gym activities or outdoor adventures, chances are you will encounter clients who are under a physician’s care for injuries, or dealing with less-serious conditions such as strained or sore muscles. Massage for athletes may help facilitate quicker recovery—and by adding the right type of cream, gel or lotion, sports massage can be more effective in relieving pain and restoring ease of movement.
Topical Menthol Analgesics
Shelly Yusko, owner of Strong House Spa in Quechee, Vermont, noted that her practice treats clients with a range of injuries and usually incorporates analgesic products to enhance massage sessions. “We use a number of pain-relieving gels that range in menthol content from 5 to 10 percent,” she said. “They are mostly applied during some of our sports massages and therapeutic treatments for folks with chronic and acute pain.”
Research backs up the use of menthol for delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A small, randomized study in 2012 demonstrated its benefits. In the study, 16 subjects received topical application of either a gel containing 3.5 percent menthol or ice to the elbows following a workout designed to induce muscle soreness. The findings showed that the menthol-based analgesic reduced perceived discomfort better than ice.
A larger crossover study in 2014 mirrored these results. The authors applied a topical menthol analgesic during the working day, then a placebo 48 hours later, to the arms and hands of 645 slaughterhouse workers and 10 individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome. At the conclusion of the study, pain intensity and global rating of change had improved with the use of the topical menthol treatment.
In addition to menthol, Yusko noted that ilex, an herbal extract from a South American holly shrub; MSM, methylsulfonylmethane; and boswellia can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Reduce Pain During Massage for Athletes
Therapists at Strong House Spa also recommend clients use topical analgesics before, during and after exercise; or when they need pain relief to decrease the risk of injury.
“Reducing pain, even temporarily, can allow manual manipulation to be more comfortable and expedite recovery,” Yusko said. “We use topical products as part of a treatment plan, along with other self-help tools.
“We advise clients to apply pain-relieving products four times a day and have had no reports of safety issues with this regimen,” she added. “I have not heard of an overdose effect with any of the topicals I am familiar with.”
Regardless of ingredients, Yusko prefers gels to creams since she feels they tend to penetrate skin better. “But for others who massage, they often feel cream works better because the gels tend to ball up when rubbed in too much,” she said.
Techniques & Self-Care
Together with analgesic gels and creams, Yusko said her therapists use a variety of massage techniques. “The types of massage can range from sports, deep tissue and myofascial release to acupressure and neuromuscular re-education,” she said. The addition of foam rollers, physio balls and other specialized tools helps relieve sore muscles and sports injuries as well.
The use of analgesics during massage for athletes may enhance treatment, but Yusko also emphasized that “self-care is health care—meaning caring for yourself—and therefore we include this instruction as part of our education, self-empowerment and treatment plans.”
About the Author
Phyllis Hanlon has written nonfiction articles and book reviews as well as human-interest stories, profiles and award-winning essays. Her specialty areas include health and medicine, religion, education and business. She regularly delights in the joys of massage. She also wrote “Foot Reflexology: Lending a Healing Hand” for massagemag.com.
By Leah Sorli
Regardless of whether you book in for regular weekly massages or you’ve yet to treat yourself, there are numerous benefits to using massage therapy. From relieving stress and reducing muscle fatigue to increasing blood flow, this form of manual therapy is perfect for people of all ages, and with all manner of ailments.
But how do you know what type of massage is right for you? Should you try a shiatsu massage if a remedial massage will do? Would a reflexology session be better for your body than a Traditional Chinese Massage? And what about myotherapy – does this massage technique trump them all? I get asked a lot about this last, lesser-known form of massage, so I thought why not share my myotherapy knowledge. After all, when you’re onto something good, why wouldn’t you share it!
What is myotherapy?
Myotherapy is a manual therapy that combines a range of traditional and contemporary massage techniques. Soft tissue therapy, myofascial stretching, rehabilitative exercises as well as temperature therapy (the use of hot and cold packs), can all be used within this highly individualised therapy. Myotherapists may even make nutritional and lifestyle recommendations, offering clients a holistic treatment that will improve their physical and emotional health.
What conditions can it treat?
Myotherapy can be used to treat a range of physical ailments including:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle sprains, tears and/or injuries
- Lower back pain
- Poor posture
- Tennis/golfer’s elbow
This form of massage can also be used as a preventative method to keep the body functioning at its best. Myotherapists may also recommend that other forms of massage, acupuncture or physiotherapy be used in combination with your treatment in order for you to get the best results.
Can anyone use myotherapy?
Regardless of your age, current physical status or past experiences with massage therapies, a professional myotherapy treatment session can help you get back to your best. Recommended for athletes and active people alike, myotherapy can help to reduce the effects of muscle spasms, strains and tears.
Not an overly active person? Still looking for a proven way to reduce chronic pain and muscle stiffness? Myotherapy treatments are also perfect for people who are suffering from lower back pain, stiff necks, carpal tunnel syndrome as well as headaches, making it a go-to treatment for treating ‘office injuries.’