Symptoms and Conditions

CARPAL TUNNEL AND MASSAGE

Are you bothered by pain, numbness, tingling, shooting pain towards the elbow, a decrease of strength in your hand or shoulder and neck pain? If so, you may be a sufferer of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

CTS may start with just a slight, occasional tingling in the fingers. The tingling may progress to numbness and pain of your wrist and hand. Ultimately, loss of gripping and grasping ability and severe pain radiating to the neck may occur. Elbow and shoulder pain may also occur. CTS is not a disease but a musculoskeletal disorder brought on by overworked muscles in neck, shoulder, forearm and hand. Constant repetition of a specific motion, like working with a computer mouse, or keyboard or even holding a pencil for long periods of time can cause muscles in the arm to become sore and fatigued. As muscles tire, the tightness of the tendons and muscles pull on the elbow joint. The increased pressure on the elbow joint causes a misalignment of the elbow. This in turn, spreads the bones of the forearm apart at the wrist.

Massage therapy is a proven treatment in alleviating the pain and preventing further deterioration. By concentration on all the muscles and tendons involved, our massage therapists may break up the pain pattern which can provide relief to the sufferer of CTS. For CTS our therapists use different techniques to reduce inflammation, increase range of motion and assist the body in repairing itself by improving circulation to the areas. Ice and heat may be used to decrease pain and increase range of motion as well.

Additionally, there are several massage techniques that can be used at home as well as part of an ongoing self-care repertoire.

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ACHY, SORE MUSCLES

What gorgeous weather we are having lately here in beautiful Olympia. Have you been outside bending over your newly planted garden only to stand up and abruptly experience pain in the low back? Or perhaps, mowing your lawn last weekend and find that your upper shoulders, neck and arms ache? Or perhaps, now that spring is here you are riding your bike again and you have that all over body-ache from the strain of too much to soon. The signs of spring have sprung up throughout the outdoor arena of life and are mirrored back within our bodies.

One of the many reasons for back pain is overuse and too much exercise. Now exercise as we all know is wonderful. It keeps us youthful and promotes health, but too much exercise too soon creates pain. Our muscles need to be warmed up and slowly built up over time, not in one glorious sunshiny afternoon.

If you find that you are one of the many people that have done too much too soon, you may benefit from a deep tissue massage or sports massage that includes stretching out the muscles to decrease the ache of spring and increase the healing of the tired, sore muscles. Massage helps to heal the hurt faster by increasing the blood circulation throughout the body.

Besides receiving a massage by a professional, here are a few tips to accelerate the healing process on your own:

  • Soak in a comfortably warm bath filled with 2 to 4 cups of Epson Salts to soothe sore muscles.
  • Stretch gently.
  • Have your chair ergonomically evaluated for good posture at your desk.
  • Practice good posture.
  • Exercise on a regular basis to keep muscles strong and toned.

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STRESS - AAACK, WHO NEEDS IT??

Stress acts like a tourniquet on the body, restricting blood flow through the muscles and decreasing circulation, the better your circulation, the better your health. It is estimated by the American Medical Center that 70% of diseases contracted by the body are at least in some part connected to stress. Massage reduces stress in the body and mind. Mental fatigue is decreased from a hard day at the office. Additionally, it has been noted that massage can also give the following benefits to the body:

  • Decreases joint swelling.
  • Increases relaxation of muscles.
  • Increases circulation within the body.
  • Prevents a tendency of the muscles to atrophy.
  • Improves the condition of the skin through improved circulation.
  • Increases mental mood through the pleasurable experience of touch.

Furthermore, according to John Kellogg in The Art of Massage, red blood cell production increases from 3 to 7 percent and white cells increase from 40-80% during massage. White blood cells help fight infection within the body, therefore your immune system becomes stronger with massage also.

Also, as little as 15-minutes of massage can increase alertness and performance. A test was completed by the Miami Touch Institute with collaboration of researchers from the University of Miami, Duke and Harvard. They found that "massage helps asthmatics breathe easier, boosts immune function in HIV-positive patients, improves autistic children's ability to concentrate, lowers anxiety in depressed adolescents and reduces apprehension in burn victims about to undergo debridement".

History teaches us that the Roman gladiators were massaged before entering the arena and 18th century Swedish cavalrymen were rubbed down between skirmishes. Just think how well you'll perform when facing the stress of your day within the office.

With so many benefits of touch, why wait any longer to receive your massage today.

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CHRONIC PAIN

Do you suffer from lack of sleep in the night due to pain? Depression? Irritability? Joint restriction and frequent headaches? If so, you may have Fibromyalgia which is now being closely linked with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) which brings on chronic pain within the body.

There are many forms of chronic pain in the world today. People everywhere are suffering, from debilitating effects of such conditions as, arthritis, Fibromyalgia, CFS as well as chronic pain conditions brought on by past injuries. The common thread in all of these conditions is pain.

How can massage help?

  • Pain relief: pain cycles are aggravated by lack of sleep, stress, long periods of sitting or standing and other physical and emotional factors. Massage stimulates the release of endorphins which are our body's own natural pain killers. Endorphins also help to increase energy and vitality. Oxygen and nutrition to the muscles are increased through massage helping the contracted muscles to relax which can ease the intensity of headaches and recurrent pain flare-ups.
  • Relief of Stress: massage is relaxing by virtue of calming the nervous system and reducing muscle tension. Thus, increasing the number of restful sleep hours and increasing vital energy needed to heal our bodies.
  • Support for emotional needs: massage offers basic emotional support through the art of healing, caring touch.

All who suffer from chronic pain disorders share a commonality in their ongoing frustration with their body. Massage can help you find relief and make a kind of peace with your body. Your massage therapist will help work with you to determine the best type of massage for you and how often you should receive massage. Be honest with your therapist and give them all information about your pain, even if it feels like you are just complaining. A good therapist listens to you and uses the information given to tailor make your massage treatment.

If you suffer from any form of chronic pain and are looking for relief, consider massage as the benefits are many.

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SPORT MASSAGE

Per Tappan's Handbook of Healing Massage Techniques, "massage has been used since ancient times in the training of athletes." Sports massage is defined as "the science and art of applying massage and related techniques to ensure the health and well-being of the athlete and to enhance athletic performance" (Benjamin & Lamp, 1996). Massage helps care for the wear and tear and minor injuries sustained in the performance of any strenuous physical activity."

There are five major applications of massage in sports as described by Benjamin and Lamp (1996).

  • Recovery: to enhance physical and mental recovery from strenuous physical activity.
  • Remedial: to improve a debilitating condition.
  • Rehabilitation: to facilitate healing after a disabling injury.
  • Maintenance: to enhance recovery from strenuous exertion, to treat debilitating conditions, and to help the athlete maintain optimal health.
  • Event: to help the athlete prepare for and recover from a specific competitive event.

Sports massage uses several techniques. For example, compression is used to increase circulation in pre-event and post-event situations when athletes are clothed. While sliding and kneading motions are general performed in maintenance and recovery sessions where athletes are unclothed and draped, and oil is used.

Two extremely effective massage modalities (treatments) used with athletes throughout the world are Thai massage and Lomi-lomi Hawaiian massage. Both techniques integrate deep tissue methods, triggerpoint therapy, myofascial techniques, yogic stretching motions and breathing exercises that help eliminate toxic build-up within the body that can accumulate due to the stress of the competition. Additionally, incorporating breathing exercises and stretching improves circulation and enhances flexibility, while myofascial techniques help to free adhesions in tissues following trauma to muscles from pushing to extremes in the sporting event.

Sports massage promotes the health and well-being of athletes, fitness participants and others engaged in strenuous physical activity. It may also be used to enhance athletic performance pre-event.

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