After four years of working in the "health and wellness" field as a massage therapist, I can truly stand on the fact that we are in control of our own wellness and it starts by making everyday choices to help us reach our potential. We are living in the era of a healthcare crisis with so much needless suffering all at the price of convenience that is swindling a life full of abundance. Here is one easy change that you can implement today to drastically change your health.
Ground and Resetting Your Body's Clock
Grounding, what's all the hype about? Grounding restores your body’s natural electrical stability and is one of the fastest ways to reduce inflammation. "This is crazy talk Sara"- yeah, that is what I thought too, but here we are every single morning. Try it- the moment your bare feet connect with the earth it's like an instant boost and your physiology changes. Grounding is essential to your internal clock, we get drunk on blue and artificial light 24/7. This kind of exposure is just as harmful as processed foods and sugar. The overdose of artificial and blue light distorts your circadian rhythm, puts your sympathetic nervous system in overdrive and makes your sleep sub par.
So, when you wake up, before mindlessly scrolling Instagram and emails, kick off your shoes and head outside. Your body will thank you.
Myofascial Decompression aka Cupping has been a round for a long time, yes pre-Michael Phelps era. With the boom in popularity, I wanted to share my thoughts about this recovery tool and why and how I incorporate it into our sessions. As always, don’t let this be the only form of recovery
Some purposed mechanism ideas of what cupping is actually doing to the tissue, there is obviously some metabolic changes happening through suction force, creation of new blood flow to the area aka angiogenesis, evidence by the bruising circles. The cups are suctioned so that they pull on the skin and the blood, drawing it to the surface especially in areas where it doesn't typically reach all that well. Some people believe it helps to alleviate blockages of debris/adhesions in the body, as well as energy that is congested in the body.
For me, the effects of cupping have to do with the nervous systems, and modifying sensory input and perception of pain and how that translates to them performing better. When someone is experiencing pain, there are some inhibitory responses to performance in the body. If I can reduce the Pain to the area, Maybe I can help someone feel better in their sport. For some clients, they swear by it, they preach better range of motion and less tension.
How long do you leave the cups on for? Personally, I usually cut off around 10 min the reason for that, seems like most people will tend to get bruising- it isn’t necessary to have bruising, doesn’t make treatment more effective. Other things can have a role in how bad someone bruises: stagnation and tissue pathologies.
When should I get this done? for recovering and dampening of the nervous system, I would go post workout. This is def in recovery realm and be in addition to all the other boxes you should be checking: food, sleep, yoga, etc
Anti Rotation Club...trust me, you want to be in this club.
Most of us who have been at the fitness thing, especially strength sports, have heard of "McGill's Big Three". If you haven't, well, you guessed it...it is three exercises that may seem erratic, but when looked under a lens you can see the purpose of these was for their cumulative gains of resisting force through the lumbar spine. And man, this is imperative. The "McGill Big Three" consist of:
1. Curl Up: resist movement front to back
2. Side Plank: resist movement side to side
3. Bird Dog: resist movement in rotation
Even though all three are critical, I want to hone in on the Bird Dog, as I believe it is the linchpin and the biggest gap I see in people's stability. The Bird Dog is a very remedial, entry level stability exercise. Just like with any movement, we should be progressing (or regressing) the movement. How do you progress in stability and illicit the intended adaption for the individual? Easy, manipulate two factors: base of support and center of mass. We want to create a less stable internal environment to resist force. If the Bird Dog is held in a quadruped position, we can challenge this by going to a bear crawl, which manipulates both base of support and center of mass. From there, we can progress to a standing contralateral Romanian Deadlift (RDL) or a suitcase carry.
There are a lot of reasons why individuals have difficulty self-organizing through the transverse plane (rotation) but you don't get better at anti-rotation by just doing more reps of the Bird Dog or holding the Bird Dog for longer. We should all be taking stability seriously, progressing this stimulus will ultimately help lower to the risk of injury through the lumbar and putting more weight on the bar.
Texting, scrolling, gripping, turning, and even breastfeeding our newborns are task that we demand daily from our thumbs and wrist. Most of us take for granted the abundant use and responsibility of our thumbs until something like De Quervain's Tendinosis makes an appearance aka text thumb aka Mother's Wrist. De Quervain's is a painful condition where the tendons on the thumb are irritated and swell. This pain may even extend from the forearm to the base of the thumb.
How common is De Quervain?
In today's scrolling society, it is one of the most common types of tendon inflammations-but don't get discouraged, with adequate time and rehab, symptoms can go away on their own. Women, hate to break it to you, but this condition affects you eight to ten times more often than men, yay. The nickname "Mother's Wrist" was given due to the common occurrence in those who are caregivers of very young children, especially those who are breastfeeding aka women.
Causes of De Quervain
This type of tendon inflammation can be triggered by a few factors:
How do I know if I have De Quervain's?
Some symptoms can include:
Here is an at home self test you can do, called the Finkelstein Test
If I think I have De Quervain's, now what?
I always suggest a holistic approach, while surgery is "fix", if you catch the symptoms early enough, you can get ahead of the pain before it gets to that point. Seek out a great Physical Therapist who can help confirm the diagnosis and give you prehab/rehab exercises to do at home. Your PT could also assist you with dry needling which has been known to help with the pain. Also, getting soft tissue work in the hand, wrist, and forearm can help with the muscular pain around the joint and assist in decreasing inflammation.
"I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached to me"- you can thank your scalenes for allowing this to never happen. This group of muscles (anterior, medial, and posterior) makes up the thickness of muscle on both sides of your neck. With attachments extending from your first rib to the bottom of your temporal bone right below your ears. The scalene group helps to bend and tilt your neck, it also is an accessory breathing muscle. Most people experience tightness in this group because of how shallow, and down right horrible we are at breathing.
For most of the day, your scalenes should be relaxed and "off". The scalenes are considered a non-postural or fast twitch muscles, meaning that fatigue sets in fast. When the scalenes fatigue and are overworked, the muscle fibers throw up a white flag in surrender and tighten up. When you experience tightness and soreness on each side of your neck making tilting and turning your neck painful- you can thank your scalenes for this. When they become dysfunctional, the trigger points can be relentless. Shooting straight up to the temporal region of the head, jaw, cheek and behind the eye- aka headaches. Because of its attachment with the first rib, this can cause irritation in the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a fun bundle of nerves that exits your neck and runs all the way down your arm. Symptoms of nerve compression or irritation can include: numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers.
If you feel like your scalenes are causing you strife or need some work, it may be time for some bodywork. Shoot me and email to schedule or if you have any questions!
ONE THING ABOUT A SKATER, THEY NEVER QUIT. THEY ARE THE DEFINITION OF RESILIENCY. I BELIEVE SKATEBOARDING IS AN ART FORM, A LIFESTYLE AND A SPORT.
Let's clear the air here, by no means do I consider myself a skateboarder. Do I like to cruise around with my boyfriend while he grinds a rail or hits causal treflips? Absolutely. And Lawd, don't even get me started about the shoe game drip of this sport...sign me up for the newest SBs please and thank you. I am not here to convince you to go learn how to skate, or buy a pair of new Vans but what I am trying to do is dictate the beauty and demands of this sport that I have witnessed not only to the physical body, but to the mind and soul. Towards the end, I will speak on the importance of training and bodywork for this sport (yes, sport- hello, Olympics) and how skaters should make this a priority.
If we look up compromised in the dictionary, here is the result that you will find:
accept standards that are lower than is desirable.
If we had to define the word "compromised" through sport, you would be amiss to not say "skateboarding".
Hear me out, let's take a small piece of wood and attach four wheels to it. Cool. Now, let's gain speed, or drop into a bowl or grind a rail, and launch our bodies into the most undesirable, risky positions and land back on the ground finding balance on our board rolling away. Sure, skateboarding is a lot of "I'm going to close my eyes, cross my fingers, and pray to God of stable ankles that I stick this landing" kind of sport. But oh no, you are mistaken. It's power. It's coordination. It's confidence. It's athleticism. It's proprioception. It's strength. It's agility. At. It's. Finest. Sure, it is all these things, but what the ordinary person doesn't see is how it trickles down into every other part of a skateboarders life, it becomes woven into their DNA. Skateboarders are the gnarliest grittiest human form on the earth. They learn to attack their giants daily, not just those on the board but in life, school, relationships, and setbacks. They don't accept defeat for an answer. They just don't. I think that is one thing that is plaguing our culture- people throw up the white flag too quickly, they are too afraid to battle. Skaters are out for blood.
Let's shift directions. From a bodyworker's and trainer's point of view, I'd call you crazy if your mind wasn't blow by the movement patterns, I mean come on. Most sports are linear, but skateboarding is multidirectional and has specific needs and demands of the body. It is a very imbalanced sport, from stance (regular/goofy) to the way you ride or even style of riding. With that being said, the risk of injury is pretty high. Can we prevent injury? No. Can we reduce the risk of injury by strength training to build tissue, joint, and tendon tolerance? Yes. Skateboarding puts a lot of stress on your body and your muscles act like a mini force-field. The stronger they are, the more impact they'll absorb rather than your joints. Not only does training involve lifting, but tons of balance and agility work and putting your body in a controlled compromised position to build resiliency in those joints.
Most common injuries in skateboarding are: ankle, knee, and wrist and by building up the strength in structures around the joints will give you a little more grace when those gnarly slams happen and help minimize the chance of serious injuries and degeneration of the joints overtime. If I can make training make sense to you and help you understand why we are doing what we are, creating harder flicks or more pop, then it is easier to take ownership when we understand application.
If I skate, should I be getting bodywork? "Yes". The answer is always "yes". Almost as vital to strength training is rest and recovery. If you keep throwing your body throw the ringer and not giving your body time to repair, weakness and inflammation can lead to even more injuries. Learn to listen to your body, eat well, get regular bodywork, especially lower body to keep things loose and happy.
If I can make you shine harder in your sport from the sideline, then I know I did my job.
It seems like every weekend there is a local competition, meet, or race happening and don't get me wrong, I love to see this. Folks being active, testing the waters and pushing their bodies to do some really cool things. My hat is off to you guys!
Between all the training, working out, fitness events, tapering, peaking, reloads, day of- when is the right time to get a sports massage and what should your "goals" be for the session?
Rehabilitation or medical bodywork is work done for the purpose of enhancing the healing process of injured tissue and aiding the client in return to full activity. The sessions should primarily be focused on the injured or dysfunctional tissue, but also the surrounding structures. For example, muscle strains should include treatment to synergistic and antagonistic muscles, which may be playing a huge role in compensation to site of injury. Immobilization during injury (cast/sling/crutches/boot) can also lead to compensatory patterns we should address in session.
Maintenance bodywork is typically what I see most of in my practice. This work is typically targeting a certain area due to overtraining, soreness, or fatigue to help mitigate future injuries. The goal of these session is to keep the athlete training at the highest level.
Recovery massage and Bodywork So, you just ran your first half marathon or competed in a CrossFit competition over the weekend? This type of session is used to help an athlete recover from a strenuous event or competition and return to homeostasis, where our bodies love to be. My two cents: if you know you have an upcoming event, try to go ahead and get a bodywork session on the books. Do not wait until the day after to call your therapist ;)
Event/Day of bodywork is a little more specific and can be broken down around specific time frames of the event.
If you have any questions about when to schedule a time to come in around an event, please feel free to reach out! If you are planning on scheduling a maintenance session, there is no better time than now.
Looking at the pec major as a whole, is like looking at the handheld fan from a sideways position. Like the trapezius muscle, this big broad mess has three parts and all funnels itself to a funny landmark called the crest of the greater tubercule of the humerus. The top fibers drop down and attach to lowest point, the middle fibers stay straight and stay in middle and low fibers cross up.
It’s origin is like a big upside down L in the middle of your chest. The three origins include: the medial half of the clavicle, the sternum aka breastbone, and cartilage of ribs 1-6 "aka" your heart and lunge jail. All these origins cross over each other and insert into that funny crest landmark on the humerus.
All of these attachments sites dictate what the pec major does.
Referred pain from these trigger points is experienced in the chest, front of the shoulder, down the inside of the arm, and along the inside of the elbow. The trigger points in the pec major can even produce symptoms that are nearly identical to the pain associated with having a heart attack, but please always have this pain ruled out by a medical doctor. From a biomechanics standpoint, these trigger points also have an intimate connection with upper body posture, and can have far reaching effects on the muscle groups in this region. Chronic tension in the pecs perpetuates the all too common rounded shoulder. This causes the traps and rhomboids in the upper back to become overstretched and weakened.
If this is something you struggle with, contact us to get out of pain!
Remember your first day of working out, or a long weekend away at a sports camp, or being 33 and sleeping in a funky position (yeah, me too), then you know all too well how unenjoyable a sore, beaten down body can feel. Muscle cramps, muscle spasms, muscle guarding and muscle soreness are other forms of muscle injuries that our bodies can experience. Let me break these down a little more for you:
General muscle soreness is the probably the most common injury I see on the table, but very typical to be blended with spasms, cramps, and guarding. There are two types of muscle soreness: acute-onset muscle and exercise-induced muscle soreness (DOMS). Acute-muscle soreness is typically partnered with fatigue. DOMS or exercise-induced soreness usually shows face 12 hours after exercise and peaks 24-48 hours later, with inflammation.
Even though you can't prevent muscle soreness, you can manage it with regular bodywork, proper warmups and cool downs, stretching, hydration, nutrition, and the king aka SLEEP. To make massage and bodywork part of your monthly routine, please email or call today to schedule your first or next session!
As humans, it’s a fundamental trait to our survival. We adapt to our surroundings. We fall back into patterns, if just feels normal and super comfortable. That is why the time off the table is crucial to reeducate.
Sadly, it is a trait that can throat punch us. I would argue, when we become settled and comfortable we get “soft” and vulnerable. You start to see things as your are, not how the world is. PERCEPTION. This is a perfect time for injury to sneak itself in. With that being said, pain is also perception. 10/10 subjective. Hear me out, Rick Flair walks up and pops you in the face, I’d cry and you may laugh. Same external stimulus, different response.
Pain is your body’s way of begging for change! Changing how you move ultimately will change how you think 🤯 brain and body are really good friends. Pain you can’t trust, because pain is not the problem. Pain is a symptom of an issue that is causing beef with the body. Which means there is an underlying issue when pain is absent.
How can we make change?
Simply put: get out of your own way. keep it simple, it really is that easy
• get on the ground, move with your kids, sit and read
•Exercise outside: go hike, go rock climb, paddle board. Get out of the Sagittal plane
• hop to your car after work? I don’t know, you may make friends?
• stop taking the elevator, maybe walk sideways up the steps
• kneel or stand at your office desk
•squat during office meetings, again you may get some weird looks