Inviting Relaxation

In the January/February edition of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork, Til Luchau reiterated to us therapists, and bodyworkers, that working with a relaxed patient is hardly as simple as saying, “relax”. Probably my favorite aspect of massage is the fact that it changes a person’s body awareness, and it does it by affecting the central nervous system, NOT simply telling a person to relax!

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Pelvic Girdle Suspension System

Christy Cael’s article in ABMP’s latest edition of Massage and Bodywork was simple and quite detailed at the same time! She explained, so well I thought, how the pubic symphysis and sacroiliac joint form the pelvic girdle and all the structures around it, including stretch, pain, and pressure receptors function. Then, she confirmed that, because it simply is the human body, the dysfunction that is easy to happen and gave pelvic tilts as homework (a person should press their low back into the floor while lying down with knees bent and feet flat on floor by tightening their abdominal muscles!).

The Many Faces of Thoracic Outlet Syndromes

Well, Whitney Lowe (in the Sept./Oct. edition of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork) explained and reiterated so well, as usual, something that most therapists would agree is very involved! He believes the pluralization of Syndromes is necessary and should be into the following four categories based on tissues involved: cervical rib compression, anterior scalene, costoclavicular, and pectoralis minor. I love his reiteration and openmindedness.

Massage Therapy and Fibromyalgia

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Healthcare’s September, 2017 journal article was, as often is the case, promising! Results of a recent (2014) systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that massage therapy with a duration of 5 weeks or longer had beneficial, immediate effects on improving pain, anxiety, and depression. It was 9 randomized controlled trials involving 404 participants with fibromyalgia syndrome, and a 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of ten randomized and non-randomized controlled trials involving a total of 145 participants concluded that overall, most styles of massage therapy consistently improved quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome.

Discover How Massage Benefits the Disabled

Leslie DeMatteo, LMT, MS’s 8/14/17 article in Institute for Integrative Healthcare’s journal reiterated some wonderful wellness points! Many physical disabilities have the following symptoms: tremors, spasticity, rigidity of muscles, uncoordinated movements, loss of balance, slowness of movement, inability to walk, and pain & stiffness of muscles throughout the body. Similarly, people confined to a wheelchair may suffer from the following: atrophied muscle tone, skin breakdown resulting from constant pressure and decreased circulation that occurs, spasticity & spasms in muscle tissue, and decreased cardiovascular health. Massage can significantly improve pliability of muscle tissue, which results in less spasticity and improved muscle function as well as improved flexibility and range of motion; this can often be the difference between being able to walk or not! Cardiovascular and lymphatic systems also suffer from lack of movement, which decreases venous and lymph return significantly. Massage has also been shown to increase circulation and improve lymphatic return. People with edema may see great improvement with lymphatic massage. Massage therapy has also been shown to decrease anxiety and stress in people with developmental disabilities, often resulting in significant decreases in behavioral outbursts. Often, there is a loss of feeling that accompanies loss of function, especially in people with paralysis; the therapist must not work too deeply then. Also, many who suffer from muscle contracture may be hypersensitive and require light, circulatory work!

Understand Proprioception for Safe and Effective Massage Treatments

Published in Institute for Integrative Healthcare’s 5/15/17 journal, Leslie DeMatteo, LMT, MS did it greatly again! Proprioceptors are nerve endings embedded in muscle fibers, tendons, and joints that inform the central nervous system about location and movement of body. There are different types: stretch (send info about tension levels in muscles), ones in tendons (like Golgi tendon organs that sense tension, thereby protecting against tearing), and ones that inform of position and movement in joints. Another important factor of proprioception is that of interpreting the force necessary to perform an action (so eye-hand coordination and balance constantly at work!). Integrity (the body’s like a suspension bridge and everything’s connected) is an important aspect of proprioception, so increased tension in 1 area “pulls” on another area (ie.: bad posture commonly causes joint and muscle pain and shortening of muscle tissue, resulting in any number of functional movement difficulties). Proprioception is behind one of the key reasons massage therapy is excellent for pain management; the Gate Control theory is the main portion of this. When we experience a muscle injury, pain receptors send the message that that area hurts. That pain message does not travel as fast as the proprioceptive messages of muscle movement and location, so when we receive massage, the movement and location messages beat the pain ones, so they override the pain ones! Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation is a post-isometric relaxation stretching method where a muscle is passively stretched, then undergoes isometric contractions against resistance while in stretched position, then is stretched again passively through the resulting increased range of motion. One proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation form is reciprocal inhibition, which is used especially when a muscle can NOT be used. PNF must be done done slowly and held for the stretched proprioceptors to become accustomed to the new position; this is what creates length! If it’s done too quickly, the Golgi tendon organs sense tension and interpret it as a danger to the tissue, making our central nervous system respond with signals to contract the muscles around the area to protect against further injury.