Self Care in the New Year

400px-lighter-foam-rollerThis year for Christmas I received a trigger point roller and
a Theracane, both used for self-myofascial release. I asked Santa for both items, even though I get regular bodywork every two weeks. I find that I need to self-treat some part
of my body every day. Yep. I said every day

When I ask my clients if they’ve been using their roller, it’s because I know the benefits of releasing tight muscles and unwinding fascia on my own. I also have a TRX body weight trainer, some bands, and assorted balls that I use to strengthen weak opposing muscles. I do practice what I preach and am not just giving lip service to the latest fitness fad.

The best part? By practicing good self care, the next time I receive body work from my massage therapist, we’ll be picking up where we left off last visit, or even from an improved position, rather than starting all over again!

Avoiding Injuries As Summer Approaches

LMWDSC_5137The good weather has finally arrived and everyone is outside, shaking out their bodies and becoming active again. Now is the
time that we begin to notice how stiff we’ve become over the
winter months, or that we haven’t been training enough for that
race at the end of next month. This is when injuries can occur! Overzealous gardening or yard work on the weekends and stepping up the training too quickly can cause strains, sprains, and general tightening and soreness. Don’t let these symptoms set you back; massage is an excellent way to help you ease back in to the more active lifestyle of the warmer months.

I’ve created more availability by adding a new therapist, Christine Pilot, to the practice. She offers a fabulous full-body tune-up to get you, and keep you, in shape for summer activities. She has worked with Dartmouth varsity athletes and can help prevent you from getting
injuries that can slow you down.

If you’re recovering from an injury or surgery and want to get out there faster, my time has been freed up to do more rehabilitative and sport-specific work. Want to improve your time, increase your distance, or correct your swing? We want to help make this summer your best one yet!

New Name. New Focus. New Location.

I’m excited to announce that my massage practice has relocated to a beautiful new studio at 160 Palmer Court, Suite 3, just off Rte. 5 south on the Norwich/Wilder line. I will be holding an open house there on Saturday, November 1, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Come learn about my new, exclusive focus on women’s musculoskeletal issues, what corrective bodywork is, and how neuromuscular therapy can help relieve pain and increase mobility. I’ll
be talking about how I have successfully treated frozen shoulder, headaches, vertigo, shoulder pain and mobility issues, thoracic outlet syndrome, back pain, and sciatica/piriformis syndrome, to name a few.

If you haven’t been moving freely, are feeling pain or stiffness, or want to avoid injury, stop by to see how I can help. I’ll be doing hands-on demonstrations and giving away fun door prizes, including one free hour session!

Directions:
From the lights in Norwich, take Route 5 south about one mile. You will pass the Farmers’ Market, Fogg’s Hardware Store, and the Family Place, all on the left. Just before Olcott Drive (also on the left), there is a drive on the right with a small white street sign that says “PVT Palmer Court”. Take this right and go past the first building on the left and the Cattail Pond building. There will be a sign for Palmer Court Professional Building on the left and a drive. Go past that turn and up the little hill to take the next left down into the parking lot. Go to the second building, first door. Inside, it’s the first door on the left.

Massage: Far More Than An Indulgence For Athletes

Looking to improve your performance, avoid injury, or recover from one? Massage
could be the answer.

Everyone knows that a massage feels good, but are there really benefits to getting
regular bodywork? General results for ahtletes include increased flexibiltiy, reduced muscle
soreness, and quicker recovery. However, there are even greater benefits from sport-specific massage: the more specific the technique, the more targeted the results.

Sport-specific massage focuses on the muscles and connective tissue used in a particular activity and often stressed from overuse. Targeted techniques such as compression, friction, and stripping to specific areas can be used to improve performance, avoid injury, or aid in the recovery from one.

Repetitive motion of any type can lead to adhesions within the tissue, resulting in restrictions and reduced range of motion, which can inhibit performance. Massage is ideal for loosening adhesions and correcting muscular imbalances, resulting in greater strength and improved flexibility. In fact, a massage can actually make you stronger; a tight muscle is not performing at its optimal strength.

For example, runners typically exhibit tight hip flexors, adductors and calves; hamstrings and glutes can be tight or weak. The symptoms are rarely symmetrical. A massage therapist trained for sport-specific work will look at muscular imbalances and develop a treatment plan to keep you strong and performing optimally.

Strength and flexibility are key in preventing injury. Most strains and sprains are the result
of muscular imbalances. Targeted massage to loosen restricted areas can release strain surrounding muscles; for example, tight calves can create too much strain on the hamstrings, making them vulnerable to injury.

Massage can also aid in recovery from injury. The Feb. 1, 2012, issue of Science Translational Medicine published a study that confirmed that massage actually helps in recovery from physical exercise. Muscle biospies were taken from men who were asked to exercise to exhaustion. Biopsies were then taken from both legs; one lege was massaged after exercising, the other was not. They concluded that the massage “appears to be clinically beneficial by reducing inflammation and promoting mitochondrial biogenesis.”

Different age groups have different needs. For older adults, recovery time is longer, flexibility
is reduced. Women going through hormonal changes may experience increased fascial
tightness due to hypothyroid conditions and an increase in the inflammatory response during this time of life.

Sprains and strains, tendinitis, spasms and cramps, even nerve compression can be eased with focused massage. A trained sports massage therapist will develop a treatment plan to keep you healthy or get you back on track as quickly as possible. In choosing a massage therapist, decide what your goals are and find a therapist who has experience working with similar issues.

If you want to enhance your training, flush out toxins after an event, or play pain-free, consider integrating massage into your training program. Whether you compete or play for fun, massage is a great way to play at your best and avoid overuse symptoms. Anyone participating in regular physical activity can benefit!

As seen in the November 2012 issue of Vermont Sports Magazine.

Voted Best Massage Therapist in the Upper Valley

by some very happy clients in Vermont and New Hampshire! It’s a real privilege
to not only receive this award, but to have the opportunity to work with
such wonderful clients who felt me worthy of the vote!

croppedwebsiloMyoI see many people in my office who come to me as a last resort; they have been living with chronic pain and decreased mobility, sometimes after having tried numerous pain medications, chiropractic, and even physical therapy, with little or no relief. Often, just one session will give them a sense of hope that they can find relief. Sometimes it takes several visits to regain full mobility and reduce the pain, but in all cases, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help them get their bodies back! This is my passion, and to have that passion rewarded by the appreciation
of my clients is all that a massage therapist could
ask for!

Of course, I would not be where I am without the many other fine massage therapists in the Upper Valley who I have worked with, and whom I have learned so much from along the way.

Neuromuscular therapy to improve running

So it’s marathon season. I see a lot of runners in my practice. One in particular stands out. He’s in his  early 40s and has run 16 consecutive Boston marathons. This past year he started having problems with his right hip and groin which gave him a lot of discomfort and slowed him down, though didn’t keep him from running. Whenever he did speed work he would regret it.
I worked with him weekly for the past 10 months using neuromuscular techniques to work out the problem areas in his glutes, hip flexors and adductors. He just completed his second marathon in 6 weeks, coming in in the top 100 out of 3,000 runners and 4th in his age group, with a time of 3:05. Nothing to sneeze at! And his body feels great. No pain, and when I saw him post race his muscles were supple and loose.
Now I just need to get him to stay hydrated!

So it’s marathon season. I see a lot of runners in my practice. One in particular stands out. He’s in his  early 40s and has run 16 consecutive Boston marathons. This past year he started having problems with his right hip and groin which gave him a lot of discomfort and slowed him down, though didn’t keep him from running. Whenever he did speed work he would regret it.

I worked with him weekly over the past 10 months using neuromuscular techniques to work out the problem areas in his glutes, hip flexors and adductors. He just completed his second marathon in 6 weeks, coming in in the top 100 out of 3,000 runners and 4th in his age group, with a time of 3:05. Nothing to sneeze at! And his body feels great. No pain, and when I saw him post race his muscles were supple and loose.

Now I just need to get him to stay hydrated!

8 weeks ’til the Boston Marathon

If you’re planning on running, you should be getting bodywork every week between now and then!

As you step up your training you are more prone to injury. Regular bodywork will help you maintain flexibility, decrease your rate of injury, make you stronger and yes, faster.

Tight connective tissue and muscles that are full of adhesions are not at their maximum strength. Breaking down adhesions, eliminating trigger points and lengthening the muscles will improve your performance. Trust me!

Foam rolling hamstrings revisited

revised-foam-rollingMy own personal trainer and mentor, Scott Stone, informed me that the hurdle stretch, which is illustrated in my post about foam rolling the hamstrings is contraindicated for anyone who’s had an MCL (medial collateral ligament) tear and generally not recommended for anyone else, in order to avoid such a tear. Although the position of the non-rolling leg was not meant to be in a full stretch, an alternate way to keep it out of the way is to sit on the roller as indicated in the photograph at right, and bend the other knee with the foot flat on the floor in front of you or slightly to the side. The point is to get the non-rolling leg out of the way so you can sink the other leg deeply into the foam roller to access the hamstring attachments.

Massage Covered by Health Insurance?

Could be so. There’s an interesting article in the New York Times Health and Wellness section on getting alternative therapies covered by health insurance.

It requires more legwork on the patient’s part, but it seems that some health insurance companies will acquiesce with persistence and the right documentation.

“More often, says Linda Bourdosis, a patient advocate at the Block Center, coverage is more subtle. For instance, your insurer may pay for certain specific treatments — massage therapy for muscle strains, for instance,… prescribed by your primary physician for a diagnosed ailment and coded correctly.”

I was able to get therapeutic massage (myofascial release, to be exact) covered by my insurance when referred by a physical therapist and diagnostic codes were supplied with the invoice. So, with a little commitment and perseverance we can start to change the system. What a great day when therapeutic massage is viewed as a viable medical treatment!!

Massage as Pure Pleasure

…for the giver, that is.

I’m currently teaching a non-academic massage course to Dartmouth students, mostly couples. I’ve tried to instill the idea that this should be fun for both parties, and what I’m seeing is the sheer pleasure of learning the skill and making their partners feel good. There is a lot of experimentation and communication between the couples and they are having a great time!

I wish that more massage therapy students could bring this attitude to their formal training. So many of them are overly concerned with whether they are doing it right, rather than exploring the body and feeling the muscles and tissues. Perhaps, unlike my Dartmouth couples, this is because they are working on classmates – people they don’t know well, or because they are putting pressure on themselves to be “good” right away.

Whatever the cause, I think they are missing the boat. Giving massage should be pleasurable to the giver as well as the receiver, and most of all, fun!