Leveling the Head and Tail

I fell in love with Erik Dalton’s latest article, Leveling the Head and Tail-Treating Neuromuscular Righting Reflexes. I enjoyed it so much because it reiterated how the body’s proprioceptors and other systems send signals and the central nervous system rights, or levels, the body instantly and automatically! Also, he believes the body can level itself from the feet on up; it doesn’t HAVE to be one way anymore (the old belief being, of course, that the body only works from the head down)!!!…And then, to top it off, he shows therapists techniques on how to help patients whose bodies need just a little help leveling themselves!


Baxter’s Neuropathy

Whitney Lowe’s article on Baxter’s Neuropathy (compression of the inferior calcaneal nerve) was pretty enlightening! He stressed that plantar foot pain doesn’t HAVE to be plantar fasciitis and that the ICN is a motor AND sensory nerve. Mostly, I like that he talked about the fact that treatment (he gave some techniques that SHOULD work), like so many “things” with the human body, very well could take a lot of trial and error but mostly should consist of the massage therapist getting feedback from the patient!

Massage therapy IS effective for musculoskeletal disorders

The next article in this month’s ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork researched the effectiveness of massage therapy for certain musculoskeletal disorders. Jerrilyn Cambron reported that researchers studied scientific literature databases. Massage was defined as “systematic manual manipulation of the soft tissues of the body with rhythmical pressure and stroking”.In the 26 studies of almost 3,000 people, the results demonstrated evidence for pain relief when the participants used only massage therapy for shoulder pain and osteoarthritis of the knee. They showed the same results for function improvement for participants w/ low back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee, and shoulder pain. In another review of six articles of soft tissue therapy (they defined it as “a mechanical form of therapy where soft-tissue structures are passively pressed, kneaded, or stretched, using physical contact with the hand or mechanical device”), they found that myofascial release therapy was beneficial for lateral epicondylitis! There were plenty of specifics I left out of this writeup, but the gist is that massage therapy can be (IS, in fact) beneficial for the musculoskeletal disorders talked about here, many others, and almost any other human body affliction!

muscle spindles

Reading Christy Cael’s article in this month’s Massage and Bodywork was, again, enlightening because it urged us massage therapists NOT to neglect muscle spindles for our patients! Muscle spindles are, ultimately, proprioceptors (they give information to our central nervous system that tells us about our position in space, which helps us prevent injury, mostly) that specifically protect our muscles from being overstretched. In keeping with the ultimately, endlessly fascinating human body, they recalibrate themselves so that the muscles can be stretched in the right way and at the right time! A massage therapist can decrease muscle tightness (hypertonicity) then by deactivating the muscle spindle IN THE RIGHT WAY, which is slowwwlllyyy. Each time the muscle and muscle spindle is stretched then, it’s a safe, exponential way!

The Human Touch

In ABMP’s latest edition, Douglas Nelson wrote about a massage session he was conducting. His patient said, “What you do is so important”. He replied, “Thank you. I am a complete stranger, yet they allow me to contact and explore where they feel discomfort. I have never taken that for granted. And, people do this at their most vulnerable time, physically or emotionally”. I found this true with myself and, in differing degrees, with people I’ve met, patients, and lifelong friends.


Read a continuing article in most recent edition of ABMP’s Massage and Bodywork. It really reiterated THE KIND of massage that needs to be done on patients with certain maladies. This one talked specifically of certain disorders and diseases that can cause lymphatic system problems and how treating them with A CERTAIN kind of massage therapy (“typical” Swedish massage) can exacerbate the condition. The massage therapist needs to use broad, encompassing compression instead; compression’s great for keeping fluids moving!