The majority of my treatment plans are based around Myofascial Release (Structural Myofascial Therapy, Cupping, Guasha and Indirect Myofascial Therapy). Myofascia is a connective tissue that is pervasive in the body: superficially it lies between the skin and muscle layers, intermediately in the muscle fibers / around tendons and helps join tendons to bones, and deeply by lining the internal organs. It can be thought of as the ‘glue’ that holds us together under the skin.
Did you know that we are 75% water? And that two-thirds of our water supply is held within the myofacia? That being said, drinking plenty of water after a massage is thought to help ‘flush’ out toxins (lactic acid, metabolites, medication residues etc) from our tissues. It can also help hydrate these newly ‘liberated’ cells and tissue layers allowing more ease for increased circulation, oxygen and lymph function to cleanse the body.
Winter is the prime time for cold and flu symptoms – did you know that Massage Therapy is not only helps you relax after a potentially hectic Christmas holiday but also helps boost the immune system? That’s right, regular massage is shown to improve circulation, and increase the number of lymphocytes in the body: white blood cells that play a large role in defending your body from disease.
Click HERE to read more from the American Massage Therapy Association
Do you have difficulty falling asleep, and / or staying asleep? Perhaps you have insomnia. 30% of American adults have occasional bouts of insomnia, and 10% have chronic insomnia (lasting more than 6 months). Incomplete sleep causes concentration problems, irritability and potential health risks. A healthcare professional or sleep expert should be consulted for thorough diagnosis, however, massage therapy can also help with reducing stress levels and increasing serotonin levels.
Are you confused as to when to apply heat or ice / cold? Knowing which one to use properly can speed up your recovery process, while choosing the wrong one can delay it. Choosing between the two often comes down to what stage of healing you are in: Acute or Chronic.
Acute injuries are sudden, sharp, traumatic injuries that occur immediately (or within hours) and cause pain (possibly severe pain). Most often acute injuries result from some sort of impact or trauma such as a fall, sprain, or collision and it’s pretty obvious what caused the injury. Common signs of an acute injury are: pain, tenderness, redness, skin that is warm to the touch, swelling and inflammation. If you have swelling, you have an acute injury.
Cold therapy with ice is the best immediate treatment for acute injuries because it reduces swelling and pain. Ice is a vaso-constrictor (it causes the blood vessels to narrow) and it limits internal bleeding at the injury site. Apply ice (wrapped in a thin towel for comfort) to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, using the CBAN rule. CBAN stands for Cold, Burning, Aching and Numbness. It is ok to feel the C, B and A – but always remove the cold therapy if you experience Numbness, even if this occurs prior to 10-15 minutes! Numbness implies tissue damage such as frost nip. Allow the skin temperature to return to normal before icing a second or third time. You can ice an acute injury several times a day for up to three days.
After a workout, ice is the better choice on a chronic injury.
- with insensitive skin or in the presence of poor circulation
- elderly people, young children, and people with diabetes must be very careful with cold treatments
- on the left shoulder if you have a heart condition
- around the front or side of the neck
If you have any questions about cold therapy, ask your health care practitioner for advice.
Chronic injuries develop slowly and is persistent and long-lasting.
Heat treatment (or thermotherapy) relieves stiffness and chronic aches, facilitates relaxation, and stimulates circulation. It works by increasing tissue temperatures and blood flow, thereby drawing extra nutrients into the area to assist in the recovery and healing process.
Heat treatments should be used for chronic injuries or injuries that have no inflammation or swelling. Heat applied to chronic conditions helps relax and loosen tissues, and to stimulated blood flow to the area. Chronic injuries can be subtle and slow to develop. They sometimes come and go, and may cause dull pain or soreness. They are often the result of overuse, but sometimes develop when an acute injury is not properly treated and doesn’t heal.
Safely apply heat to an injury 15 to 20 minutes at a time and use enough layers between your skin and the heating source to prevent burns. Check skin frequently for redness.
When to use:
- sore, stiff, nagging muscle or joint pain
- with chronic pain or overuse injuries before exercise to increase the elasticity of joint connective tissues and to stimulate blood flow
- relax tight muscles or muscle spasms
- do not apply heat after exercise
- do not apply on an acute injury
- do not use heat over swollen tissues or redness
- do not use heat before vigorous exercise – muscles may be too relaxed for peak performance and safety
Why is it so important to drink water after your massage you might ask? Drinking water after your massage will help you get the most benefit from your treatment in the following ways..
Essentially, massage therapy increases circulation and ‘unblocks’ muscle tissues. Those ‘hurt so good’ spots are areas that have been nutrient deprived or circulation blocked due to constricted muscles and/or trigger points, which comes from stress, physical activity, emotion distress or injury.
Muscle manipulation through massage releases these tight areas and requires the assistance of water to help flush out an array of toxins that have been stored in the tissues. Water is the avenue for our bodies post treatment to flush out lactic acid and metabolic wastes that caused these knots.
Toxins can enter your tissues in the following ways:
- Physical and emotional stress
- Drinking, smoking and coffee
- A poor diet
- Your job and environmental conditions
- Pills and Medications