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.
December 20, 2017
If you suffer from chronic pain, you’re well aware of that before an official diagnosis. But something about being diagnosed with a chronic pain condition can trigger an extra bit of fear and stress. If you’ve recently been told you have a condition, you’ve also been told that it could be something you live with for quite some time. You may be asking yourself where in the world do I start? Here are some tips for how to begin to cope.
Don’t be afraid of exercise
The stronger your muscles and the more flexible your joints, the less your chronic pain will affect you. Good ol’ fashioned exercise is the only tried and true way to achieve a strong, flexible body. Though exercise can be scary for those with chronic pain – and rightly so – it’s vital that you find something that works for you. Try something low-impact with a focus on flexibility like yoga or pilates. If an exercise hurts you, try something else.
Remember: obesity is a leading cause and exacerbating factor in chronic pain. The closer you can stay to a healthy weight range, the better off you’ll be.
Eliminate the three “S”s of pain-triggering at home
Three triggers absolutely contribute to making your chronic pain worse: smoking, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle. Making sure you don’t spend too much time on the couch and actually getting some exercise every day can help with the latter. Quitting smoking is simple but it’s not easy. Smoking cessation will – without a doubt – improve your pain, however, so it’s vital.
Finally, we come to stress. How do you make your home less stressful? Some surefire ways are to keep your home clean and organized, open up windows for natural light, invest in aromatherapy products, and dedicate one room/area of your home to meditation/relaxation. Check out more home destressing tips here.
Be mindful of your medication intake
For some chronic pain conditions, prescription medication can work in tandem with other holistic practices to help provide relief. With any prescription regimen, however, there are going to be risks. Nobody is above the risk of drug abuse and addiction. It can happen to anyone. That’s why, as a chronic pain sufferer, it’s doubly important that you know the warning signs of abuse. It’s often hard to spot them in yourself, but you still need to be mindful. Check here for a comprehensive guide to the warning signs.
Spend a little money on massage
It’s ok to spend a little money on the management of your chronic pain, as long as you’re smart about it and don’t fall victim to scams that don’t work at all. Massage is not one of those pain scams. Massage has a proven track record of working wonders for arthritis patients, as well as sufferers of other forms of chronic pain. The Arthritis Foundation says that massage “can lead to a significant reduction in pain [and improvements to] stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength, and overall function of the joints.”
Yes, your diet is a big part of how you feel. Eat well, feel well. Eat poorly, feel poorly. It’s not rocket science. Eating whole, healthy, non-inflammatory foods will help lessen your chronic pain. What are we talking about when we talk about a non-inflammatory diet? Check here for the details.
A chronic pain condition diagnosis is not some sort of sentence. It’s an opportunity. Now that you have a name for the pain you’ve been feeling, you can begin to tweak your lifestyle, home life, and habits to better manage your condition. Diet and exercise are the two biggest things to consider, and those can be supplemented with therapies like massage and cautious use of prescription medication. You’re strong. You got this.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
About the Author:
Jackie Waters is a mother of four boys and lives on a farm in Oregon. She is passionate about providing a healthy and happy home for her family and aims to provide advice for others on how to do the same with her site Hyper-Tidy.com.
Often forgotten in conversations regarding overall health, the value of the lymphatic system has been bolstered by recent scientific breakthroughs. This research, which changes how we look at the lymphatic system and the circulation of cerebral spinal fluid, is causing gradual shifts in massage therapy.
The January/February 2016 Massage & Bodywork cover story by Bruno Chikly, MD, DO, and Alaya Chikly looks briefly at the historical journey of our ongoing understanding of fluid dynamics, unveils some of the newest and most exciting discoveries concerning the circulation of lymph and cerebrospinal fluid, and offers some effective manual therapy techniques for lymph drainage that can help facilitate the natural exchanges between these fluids.
An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from a known hypothyroid condition, and 10 percent of adult American women may have some degree of such conditions, according to endocrineweb.com.
January is National Thyroid Awareness Month, sponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, a time when massage therapists can learn how clients with thyroid disorders might benefit from massage therapy.
Signs of a Challenged Thyroid
The term hypothyroidism encompasses any condition witnessing the thyroid gland’s inability to produce adequate levels of hormones known as T3 and T4. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune inflammatory condition that destroys the thyroid gland, is the leading cause of hypothyroidism. The other major cause indicates a broad medical treatment term that includes surgical procedures to remove all or a portion of the thyroid. Removal of cancerous tissue in thyroid cancer patients is a prime example of this cause.
Major signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue; muscle weakness; fluctuations in weight without an obvious reason; dry, thinning hair; rough skin patching; cold intolerance; depression; abnormal menses; decreased libido; and cognitive challenges.A patient may be difficult to diagnose by her physician due to not manifesting many of these symptoms initially. Insidious changes occur slowly, leaving a patient wondering why he feels off-balance. Most people will not think to consider their thyroid as the culprit, resulting in symptoms worsening slowly over time. Serious complications can occur, including heart failure, coma and severe depression.
The Enlarged Thyroid
Goiters, or enlarged thyroids, may be witnessed in hypothyroid patients. These result from an
overproduction of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland. The constant stimulation from TSH will cause the thyroid tissues to swell. If the thyroid gland still cannot produce adequate T3 and T4 hormones, the patient will be considered to have goitrous hypothyroidism.
It is important to note that the presence of a goiter does not always equate to hypothyroidism. Other conditions featuring the development of a goiter include dietary iodine deficiency, the patient taking lithium carbonate, infectious disease, postpartum complications or a rare fibrosis condition called Riedel’s thyroiditis.
A massage client with hypothyroidism could be on one of several different medications for the treatment for hypothyroidism. The most common drug is a synthetic thyroid hormone usually sold under the brand name Synthroid or Levothroid, according to the website of the Mayo Clinic. The generic name of the drug is Levothyroxine. This drug is a synthetic form of T4 hormone (the most significant of thyroid hormones) and is used to replace one’s T4 hormone levels. Evaluation of dosage can be tricky for some patients. Proper communication with the endocrinologist is key to determining the proper dosage daily. An annual evaluation of the drug’s effectiveness is expected as well.
The half-life of Levothyroxine is six to seven days, meaning it takes this time period for the drug serum levels to drop significantly enough to become insufficient in the patient. Because of such a long half-life, massage therapists must communicate effectively with the client to determine how the drug is affecting the client at the time of massage treatment.
Common side effects of Levothyroxine and other hypothyroid medications include chest pain, changes in menses, headache, fatigue, heat intolerance, hives, facial swelling, breathing challenges, fainting and tremors, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website. Overdosing symptoms include changes in consciousness, skin pallor, vertigo, changes in pulse, confusion and sudden headaches, aphasia and apraxia. It is important for massage therapists to recognize these signs and symptoms with their hypothyroid clients.
Massage for Thyroid Patient Health
Massage therapy and related bodywork can benefit the hypothyroid patient in many profound ways. First, a significant reduction in the patient’s symptoms can be witnessed with the usage of acupressure. This benefit was demonstrated by a research study in Russia conducted in 2011. Reflexology and Gua Sha technique were also utilized in this study involving Chinese medicine theory in addressing hypothyroidism.
A second benefit of massage therapy for the hypothyroid patient is aiding improved blood and lymphatic circulation. Since proper blood and lymphatic flow is vital for all endocrine organs, the thyroid could benefit from improved circulation.
Reduced inflammation is a third benefit derived from massage therapy and related bodywork. Research through the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California, and McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, indicates that massage therapy may create a result similar to anti-inflammatory medications at a cellular level. This benefit will aid the hypothyroid patient with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or similar inflammatory concerns.
A fourth benefit of massage treatment is reduced stress within the body. This benefit can decrease cortisol and other stress hormones to help manage weight healthily.
Finally, increasing muscle strength will combat the fatigue and weakness often felt by the hypothyroid patient. A Swedish massage including a large percentage of petrissage strokes can enhance the size, strength and stamina of muscle tissue.
Please note that the information presented here is not intended to replace advice from a medical professional.
About the Author
Jimmy Gialelis, L.M.T., B.C.T.M.B., is owner of Advanced Massage Arts & Education in Tempe, Arizona. He is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved provider of continuing education, and teaches “Working with Pathologies—Arthritis” and many other classes. He wrote “Fibromyalgia: Massage Therapy Considerations” for MASSAGE Magazine’s July 2015 print issue and “5 Ways Massage Improves Diabetes Care” for massagemag.com.
– See more at: https://www.massagemag.com/massage-therapy-thyroid-health-34099/?utm_content=buffer0a700&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.F3G1pPRv.dpuf
Additional Online Resources: https://www.verywell.com/hypothyroidism-4013991
For people with fibromyalgia, massage therapy may help soothe symptoms to some degree. Marked by chronic pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia typically causes tenderness throughout the body (especially in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs) and can also trigger sleep troubles, headaches, memory problems, and irritable bowel syndrome. Although massage therapy isn’t proven to provide long-term relief of fibromyalgia symptoms, early research shows that receiving massages may help fight pain and enhance well-being in fibromyalgia patients.
Benefits of Massage for Fibromyalgia Patients
While massage has yet to be extensively tested for its effects on fibromyalgia, the existing studies show “modest support” for its use in treating the condition, according to a 2010 research review. The review’s authors analyzed eight previously published studies, finding that each demonstrated short-term benefits for massage.
The authors note that fibromyalgia patients may need to receive massage therapy at least once or twice weekly in order to experience significant benefit. However, they also caution that all of the reviewed studies had methodological problems.
Findings from other small studies indicate that massage therapy may help improve sleep and ease depression, in addition to reducing fibromyalgia pain. In a 2002 study of 24 fibromyalgia patients, for example, researchers found that those who received 30-minute massage treatments twice weekly for five weeks had an increase in the number of hours they slept (as well as a decrease in pain).
The study also suggests that massage therapy may help reduce levels of substance P (a brain chemical involved in inducing pain and inflammation).
Using Massage for Fibromyalgia?
For most patients, fibromyalgia treatment tends to require a range of therapeutic approaches. For instance, your healthcare providers may recommend using a combination of medication (such as pain relievers and/or antidepressants), lifestyle changes (such as improving your sleep quality and exercising regularly), and physical therapy.
If you’re interested in using massage to manage your symptoms, talk to your doctor about how to incorporate massage therapy into your fibromyalgia treatment program.
Brattberg G. “Connective tissue massage in the treatment of fibromyalgia.” Eur J Pain. 1999 3(3):235-244.
Field T, Diego M, Cullen C, Hernandez-Reif M, Sunshine W, Douglas S. “Fibromyalgia pain and substance P decrease and sleep improves after massage therapy.” J Clin Rheumatol. 2002 8(2):72-6.
Kalichman L. “Massage therapy for fibromyalgia symptoms.” Rheumatol Int. 2010 30(9):1151-7.
National Institutes of Health. “Fibromyalgia“. July 2009.
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.
Massage May Provide Healing Relief for People with Multiple Sclerosis
Researchers at Shepherd Center are gauging whether massage helps improve debilitating MS symptoms and quality of life.
Researchers at Shepherd Center are investigating whether routine massage can help improve pain, spasticity and overall quality of life among people with multiple sclerosis (MS). This small study – one of the first to look at how massage might influence these measures in MS – will enroll 25 participants. Individuals will receive standardized massages – for the same amount of time, number of strokes, parts of the body worked on – for one hour a week for six weeks.
“MS is a progressive disease, and the symptoms don’t go away,” says Deborah Backus, Ph.D., director of MS research at Shepherd Center and the study’s principal investigator. “Many of the symptoms can actually exacerbate peoples’ disability and dramatically affect their quality of life.”
MS is a disease of the central nervous system in which the immune system starts attacking the protective sheath that covers the nerves. This ultimately disrupts communication between the brain and body, and can be debilitating. It is estimated that 30 to 90 percent of people with MS report pain, and most (80 percent) have spasticity that is disruptive to everyday function, personal care and mobility.
In this study, researchers are collecting and analyzing data from clinical tools and self-reported questionnaires to gauge changes in pain and spasticity levels, as well as quality-of-life measures both before and after massage.
Shavonne Thurman, 39, of Atlanta, Ga., was among the first to sign up and participate in the study. Having completed her participation in the study, she now misses her weekly sessions during which massage therapists applied long strokes and light pressure – characteristic of Swedish-based massage techniques.
“I’ve always had extreme tightness in my calves – so much so that it’s hard to think about anything else,” she says. “But during the massage, I was able to let that go and not think about my MS. It actually relaxed my legs so much, I had to sit for a minute before getting up because they were like jelly.”
Shavonne was diagnosed with MS in 1999, and it has affected her life incredibly, she says. She walks with forearm crutches, but feels fortunate that she is still very active, can drive a car and is mentally sharp. Still, she is always hopeful for new therapies that will ease her pain and that of others with MS.
While massage cannot cure MS, researchers say it holds promise to manage symptoms.
“People are always looking for new ways to manage MS,” says Christina Manella, PT, LMT, therapy manager in Shepherd Center’s MS Institute.
The beauty of massage is that it offers physical benefits, as well as mental and emotional upsides, too, Manella says.
“MS can be very stressful for patients because they don’t always know what’s coming next,” she adds. “This type of study helps us look at the whole person because a patient might be on the right medication and be physically fine based on [functional brain] MRIs, but if they are stressed out, it’s going to affect their health.”
Through this study, researchers will be able to quantify any benefits of massage, show that it does no harm in this population, and advance ongoing efforts to improve the health and wellness of people with MS.
To date, there has been relatively little research done to evaluate the use of massage or other bodywork therapies in MS. Yet, surveys find as many as one-third of individuals with MS use massage therapy as an adjunct to their medical treatment, so more data is needed.
“The idea for the study came out of a need perceived in the MS Institute at Shepherd Center and is another example of how we can ask meaningful research questions that will directly impact patient care,” Dr. Backus explains.
Not surprisingly, there’s been no shortage of interest, she adds.
“We didn’t need to promote this study too heavily,” Dr. Backus says. “The good news is that if massage shows great benefits, it’s something that may be more accessible to people with MS and, assuming it is done safely, can be continued over the course of their life.”
To date, many health insurance plans will not cover massage for MS or other chronic diseases, but studies like this one may pave the way for changes in the future.
Exercise Is Better With Massage
Source: American Massage Therapy Association
From beginner athletes to elite professionals, massage therapy has shown to have major benefits regardless of the participant’s fitness level. Athletes seeking enhanced performance, improved conditioning, faster recovery, injury prevention and assistance in maintaining peak fitness can benefit from Massage Therapy!
Massage has been shown to have myriad positive effects including:
- Reducing muscle tension
- Helping athletes monitor muscle tone
- Promoting relaxation
- Increasing range of motion
- Improving soft tissue function
- Decreasing muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise
- Improving exercise performance
- Decreasing delayed onset muscle soreness
- Reducing swelling
- Reducing breathing pattern disorders
- Enhancing athletic performance
- Helping prevent injuries
By combining your exercise routine with a massage therapy treatment, you will be able to train longer and harder and make the most of your workout. Not convinced? Research some of your favorite world-class athletes, and you’re likely to see that a massage therapist is a key component of their strength and stamina routine.