Tarsal Tunnel

In this last article that I found from the 2nd-to-last edition (yup-I’ve gotten a little behind!) of ABMP’s Massage & Bodywork, Christy Cael yet again reminds us therapists of the significance of this structure! So very many structures go into making THIS structure! She definitely also related this tunnel to the other “famous” one in our body, the carpal tunnel. Her talk of extrinsic and intrinsic factors that affect this structure was great; I hope she writes more about them soon! Thank you for reading!

massage helps ease aggression and other symptoms in dementia patients

This other article from my second-to-last edition of ABMP’s Massage & Bodywork’s News & Notes relayed that at the end of last year, researchers examined the role of massage therapy in attenuating aggression and related behavioral disorders in patients with dementia. The authors state the study was done to determine techniques to maintain communication for patients with dementia at a basic level. The studies used massage therapy, either in conjunction with other nonpharmacological interventions like aromatherapy or calming music or by itself, as a treatment for dementia-related behavior disorders. The authors conclude the following: ‘the employment of massage therapy-either alone or in combination with aromatherapy or calming music-can significantly decrease agitation, aggression, stress, and anxiety in patients with dementia; the combination of massage with aromatherapy seems to impart the most significant results in patients with dementia.’ Thank you again so much for reading!

traditional chinese medicine vibration therapy may reduce muscle fatigue

From my May/June (yes-the spring and summer have done the proverbial “gotten away from me”) edition of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork, their New & Notes article states that researchers examined the results of a 7-week, vibration-based traditional Chinese medicine holistic theory combined with conventional therapy (this includes stretching, massage, and flapping) that was done on Greco-Roman wrestling and Judo athletes in South China. The control group received only the conventional therapy. Results yielded were positive for effects on exercise-induced muscle fatigue in the TCM group, and a pre- and post-intervention two-point discrimination test showed the same for the conventional/intervention group. Thank you very much for reading!

what is the craniosacral still point?

Almost at the end of ABMP’s “A Massage is for EveryBODY Week”, I post about Massage Magazine’s April 9th article written by Karen Axelrod, CST-D! The body’s craniosacral still point is a gradual slowing down and eventual waning away of the craniosacral rhythm (CSR); it’s an inherent rhythmic motion that therapists palpate to assess overall health of the craniosacral (CS) system and a patient’s well-being. It’s believed mostly that CRS reflects production and reabsorption phases of CSF. Physiological forces create a gentle motion during CSF production and reabsorption, which manifests in a subtle, body-wide, tide-like rhythm. Naturally, the body needs to ensure good CSF inflow and outflow, but the body HAS devised (this is why the human body is endlessly fascinating to me!) a regenerative, self-corrective mechanism that seems to cause the rhythmic flow to almost stop. A still point has the capacity to balance the autonomic nervous system; this makes the equilibrium tone between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It facilitates better CSF circulation, which ensures fresh fluid is moving into the system and old is flushed out and helps the body release inner fascial restrictions, muscle tearing, and overall stress. A still point can also directly impact the meninges, ventricles (this, of course, is where CSF is made), and dural venous sinuses (these are CSF outflow pathways). At the end of internal rotation, the hands create a barrier to external rotation; thereby, no movement is allowed. A therapist can even exert a very slight amount of pressure ( 5 grams or less) on the tissues to create that barrier! Once the client’s body recognizes the barrier and decides to work with it, the CSR will start to disappear from conscious awareness, which will put the client in a still point. SPs last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Once the client is in fact in a SP, the therapist should “release” the barrier by keeping the hands where they are to note subtle changes and when the CSR returns. There are many ways the therapist can do this, and it can be done at any time during the session and for as long as it takes to return the CSR to normal. Lastly, Ms. Axelrod stated a contraindication or two, and it is/they are the following: anyone who has a condition that would be adversely affected by a change in intracranial or intra-dural pressure on cranium or along the spine; examples are: recent cerebral aneurysm or stroke, a CSF or epidural leak, acute skull or verebral fracture, or a herniated medulla. Thank you so very much for reading, and a have a happy, healthy end to “A Massage is for EveryBODY Week”!

stiff hips and low-back pain: addressing femoroacetabular extension restrictions

From last edition (just got my new one!) of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork, by Erik Dalton, PhD, this was a good, timely one! Several studies have found a strong correlation between fixated hips and lumbar spine pathology. When addressing hip mobility issues, we therapists should consider these 3 things: 1. Are bones moving properly within the joint space? Is there an osteoarthritic bone-on-bone end-feel at end ROM? 2. Are musculofascial tissues flexible enough to allow the rectus femoris and iliopsoas to stretch the necessary length for full hip extension? 3. Does the end-feel of the stretch indicate a fibrotic hip capsule? Trick movements (the brain’s way around blocks/obstructions by muscle imbalances or pain) caused by inadequate hip extension often lead to strain and pain that manifest in the lumbar spine, the SI joints, or both!. How to determine a hip-extension restriction: half-kneel with right knee on ground and left leg in front so there’s a 90-degree angle at hip and knee. Place a bar along spine, which should touch between shoulder blades at top of gluteals. Then, push pelvis forward so low back flattens (allowing it to come in contact with stick). If you feel a stretch in front of right hip, there’s a flexibility or mobility issue in or around that hip; of course, switch sides to determine the same of the left hip. To assess left anterior hip capsule: from prone, flex left knee to 90 degrees and grasp left leg. Place left palm just below ischial tuberosity on proximal femur. Bring hip into extension while left palm resists. Stop if bone-on-bone feel or pain; the extension achieved should be between 10 and 15 degrees. This assesses and also stretches the rectus femoris. We must always consider whether joint stretching is an appropriate strategy for a restricted hip; if the individual has bony morphologic changes, mobilizations may be inappropriate, so, if in doubt, refer out. Thank you, as always, for reading!

kinematic chain of elements: scapulohumeral rhythm

This article, by Dr. Joe Muscolino, in the latest edition of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork, reiterated that movement patterns involved with movement of the shoulder extend well beyond the glenohumeral joint to involve the entire shoulder girdle (all prominences, etc.), along with its connection to the trunk (this is again, very timely for me!). Specifically, when your scapula moves, your humerus AND clavicle, as well as their articulations with the rib cage and sternum, move too! Thank you again for reading!

putting the squeeze on compartment syndrome

In ABMP’s latest edition of Massage and Bodywork, Whitney Lowe wrote some very prudent details for us therapists to look for. CS can manifest as anterior leg pain. It has 2 forms: acute, which is a medical emergency, and chronic. The 4 compartments (anterior, lateral, superficial posterior, and deep posterior) in the lower leg are most susceptible to CS. A compartment syndrome happens when muscles within a compartment swell as a result of exercise or inflammation from trauma. Mr. Lowe just emphasized to us therapists that the acute stage of CS (of course, presented usually as pain, swelling, etc.) is contraindicated and, naturally, need medical attention. Thank you for reading!

The Carpal tunnel

This article, by Christy Cael and in ABMP’s latest edition of Massage and Bodywork, was timely for me and yet another reminder for us therapists! A lot of structures, specifically the median nerve and plenty of muscles and tendons, make up the carpal tunnel. Ms. Cael wondered, and then reinforced, that soft-tissue manipulation of the flexor retinaculum is a valuable part of treatment and prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Review shows effectiveness of massage for anxiety and depression in patients with cancer

In this article in my latest edition of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork, the writer told of a study done by researchers because said researchers knew “that massage therapy is useful in relieving anxiety and depression of cancer survivors. However, the mechanism is still unclear, and no systematic review has provided sufficient evidence for the treatment.” The study revealed no clinical mechanism of action, but “massage therapy can be effective in easing mood and reducing cancer-related symptoms, including depression, anxiety pain, fatigue, and so on.”. Thank you for reading!

Massage for anxiety and cancer

In the latest edition of National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (08/2020) newsletter, editors relay that some studies have shown that massage therapy helped to decrease anxiety for people with cancer or other comorbid medical conditions. Little research, they say, has been done on massage for anxiety disorders. A 2013 randomized controlled trial of 60 cancer patients examined massage therapy for perioperative pain and anxiety in placement of vascular access devices and found that both massage therapy and structured attention proved beneficial for alleviating preoperative anxiety in these patients! Massage therapy appears to have few risks if it is used appropriately and provided by a trained massage professional. Thank you, as always, for reading!

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