I'm not sure what the next innovation in massage therapy will be but-- You don't need to lie on a massage table to have a massage.
You don't need to take your clothes off to have a massage.
You don't need to have an hour off the have a massage.
You don't even have to leave the office to have a massage!
So what am I talking about?
Chair massage, this is the clothes on, no oil massage that is designed for doing in the workplace but can be done anywhere - exhibitions, conferences, wellness events, pamper events. Sessions are normally short (5 to 20 minutes) so it is easy to fit a massage into a busy schedule!
Chair massage is normally performed on a special chair. (There is picture of one at the bottom of the page.) Some people seem to think they are looking at a chair of torture, but that is before they sit on it. In contrast to most chairs, you don't sit back on this chair, you lean forwards onto the chair.
So what makes this such a comfortable chair? There is a chest rest and a face rest. So when you lean forward, there is cushion support for your chest. Ahh, your body can relax. What a wonderful feeling to relax! (I have even had people fall asleep during a chair massage so they must have found it comfortable!)
When sitting on the chair in this leaning forward posture, it is easy for the therapist to massage the neck, shoulders, and back. Aches and pains can be quickly and simply addressed. Back pain, neck pain, long standing shoulder issues, headaches, have all been helped with a massage on a chair.
Massage is normally extended to the arms and hands. (You use your arms and hands in most of your daily activities but how often do you stretch them out?) Issues such as forearm tension, elbow pain, stiffness in the fingers, have been helped with massage.
Never had a massage before? Try a chair massage. What could be simpler?! Especially if you live in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire!
So yesterday's story ended with a decision: to accept the discomfort in my toes for help with my back or to do without the orthotics.
I chose to abandon the orthotics. Why? The decider for me was the fact the orthotics were affecting my good side as well as the side that hurt. I thought this was too much of a change. Having rejected the orthotics, I was given knee exercises to help reduce the flexion in my knees. This was a slow process.
(At about this I was also studying massage! So I was receiving a lot of "relaxtion time", a great feeling. In fact, this experience encouraged me to continue studying massage and
As the back remained an issue, I look at other therapies.
I tried the Alexander Technique which helped a lot. This technique made me aware of my body. I learned to "check" my body and ask "where is the tension" and "does it need to be tight?". (My first lesson, a paperback book was used as a support for my head. My thought was "this is going to be uncomfortable". How wrong I was. It gave just the right amount of support! My neck felt released.)
Pilates was another approach that was said to be great for back problems. It felt great to stretch and move the back! Some days, I definitely felt taller and the body certainly lighter! It was surprising how what simple moves could be hard to do. Getting muscles to work that hadn't worked in awhile can be hard.
Over time with these different therapies and exercises, the back has slowly recovered. I can't say exactly when it happened but my back is no longer an "issue".
So what have I learnt from this experience?
It is important to pay attention to your body. Be aware of your own body tension and how to release it. If one therapy or appraoch doesn't work for you, try another therapy - each has its own strengths. You are responsible for your own body. Only you know how it feels. Look after it!
Today, I thought I'd tell you some of my experiences with recovering from a painful back.
It started off with a pain in my back from lifting too many heavy things. The ache just wouldn't go away. The doctor's examination did not reveal anything "critical" and I could lie down and sit OK. The problem was walking. I could walk only so far and then the pain started. It became so sharp that I had to stop and sit down until it abated. A vicious circle developed: one wanted to walk but resented the fact that walking hurt!
So I was sent to orthopedics. So an X-ray and then an MRI was taken. Result? I was told: "Well, it looks like you have some stenosis at L4/L5. You could try an epidural and if that doesn't work then you do have the option of having surgery (a laminectomy) to release pressure on your nerves."
I opted for the epidural - it seemed safer. The epidural was scary - having to lie still and the fear of the pain. It did give relief but it didn't last.
So I then tried various therapies: phsysio, chiropractic, osteopath, massage, etc.
Following an assessment, one therapist suggested that I had one leg slightly longer than the other. One way to "correct" this was to have orthotics fitted. These did help. The downside was the lifts made it hard to find comfortable shoes (and your favorite shoes didn't fit!). Sigh.
Over time, I began to notice that I had a loss of sensation in my left big toe if I had been wearing my shoes for awhile. That was OK but then the sensation affected my right foot (my good side). Now that I wasn't happy with.
Another therapist then suggested that in correcting for the leg length difference with orthotics there was a change in the weight distribution through my back and knees. This effect was being reflected in the problems with my toes. So the choice was to abandon the orthotics and work on my knees OR accept the discomfort in the toes.
So what did I decide? I'll tell you more tomorrow.
Do you find it difficult to touch your toes? You are not alone. Research has shown that half the population cannot touch their toes due to tight hamstring muscles. Experts blame this lack of flexibility on poor lifestyles. Tight hamstrings can lead to a range of problems: back pain, knee problems, hip pain, muscle strains.
Now a study published by Coventry University shows that the Bowen Technique, a gentle remedial complementary therapy, reduces hamstring tightness and increases flexibility. This effect was observed after a single treatment with most of the participants either being able to touch their toes or showing a significant improvement after a single treatment!
Have a look at the complete article on Bowen research
Do you have tight hamstrings? Try a Bowen session and let me know how you get on. Depending on where you live, you could even book a session with me.