Have you visited this blog in the last few days and wondered why there was no entry? Well, the 31 blogs in 31 days challenge has finally been reached! My 31st entry was Thursday!
Whew! I am taking a short break.
Making daily entries does take time and I need to spend more time doing some other things! I'm also having a short holiday to re-charge myself(and making blog entries is not on my list!)
On my return, I will be participating in a blogging course - honing my skills ever further!
Reflecting on the challenge, some entries seemed to easier to write than others. The words just seemed to flow. For other entries, the ideas were more difficult to express. They were really only "half-formed" with more thought and research needed.
I hope you enjoyed reading the entries. I would love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have.
p.s. Have you checked-in with your body recently? Massage is such a great way to develop body awareness and to keep your body fit and healthy!
Have you heard of the word borborygmus?* Do you suffer with borborygmus during a massage?
Well, the first answer is probably “no” and the second the answer is “yes”. Borborygmus means the rumbling sounds made by the movement of gas in the intestines! It is perfectly natural.
I am a massage therapist. Many of my clients try to apologise for a “rumbling stomach”. I always tell them the noisy stomach is a compliment. Those noises are indicating that the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are being re-balanced. What?!
Your body's involuntary nervous systems are wired for survival. The parasympathetic system keeps you going: breathing, eating, sleeping, and other life functions. The sympathetic system is the flight or fight system. It gets your body ready for action to get you out of danger. These two systems have opposite effects on the body. The activity of one system affects the other. So when the sympathetic system is active , it “dampens down” the activity of parasympathetic nervous system.
When you are stressed, it is the sympathetic system that is turned on. To relax, it is the parasympathetic system that needs to be stimulated.
It is not only the client who may have rumbling stomachs! There are the occasions when my own stomach starts to make noises – is it lunchtime? I normally don’t say anything so as not to disturb you, the client. As you relax, you may be in your own world and completely oblivious of extraneous noises. My talking would only disturb your “thoughts”.
This did create a laugh recently. My stomach was doing a lot of rumbling (not particularly loudly). My client could hear noises and finally said “Is my stomach making those noises? I can hear stomach rumblings but I don’t feel them!!” I laughed and said “No, it is my stomach. I was hoping you wouldn’t notice!" We both laughed.
So borborygmus is telling me that your body is starting to relax. It is no longer “wired for action”. Yes, your body can speak – you just have to know what it is saying!
*I came across this term from a short article done by Walt Fritz, PT. Here is the original article.
Do you think of your body in mechanical terms? Parts wear out but with the wonders of medical science the parts can be replaced. So you work hard and play hard. You may be concerned about blood pressure and cholesterol, but if you get aches and pains, it is just an indication that the body is wearing out. That is certainly what most doctors will say “It’s your age”.
Have you ever wondered why some parts (such as joints) wear out? If the body is designed to move, why should it be wearing out? To blame it on age is an easy cop out.
I would like to suggest that one of the reasons that joints wear out is related to the way you move or even don’t move! In short, the way you use them!
The way in which you move may not be “optimal”. This doesn’t mean the problem is genetic. The way you move could be due to bad habits, poor posture, to a previous injury, or it could be structural.
There are many ways to move a given joint. As an example, look at the knee for instance. It is described as a hinge joint so it can only bend and straighten. Seems simple but did you know that there are at least five muscle groups that cross the knee? Can you appreciate that with this many muscle groups crossing the knee, a slight difference in tension in one of the muscles/groups will affect how the joint moves? The knee will still work but the pressure through the joint may be greater than it needs to be. Over time, this will change the joint and result in pain. This does not mean that you need a knee replacement. If the tension in the muscles crossing the joint was eased*, the way the joint moves will change, and what you feel will also change!
How you think of your body affects how you treat it. So how do you think of your body? I would like to know.
*to ease muscle try massage
This is just a short story - where you feel the pain may not be where the problem is!
I had a client who was complaining of pains in their knees. Sometimes they were finding it difficult sometimes to walk. The pain was in the knees. They had been to the doctor who thought that there might be "some arthritis" in the knee. "It was to be expected at that age!"
I suggested that a massage session might help to release tightness in the surrounding muscle tissue. This would reduce compression forces coming through the knee which in turn should make knee movements easier. At the very least, they might as well enjoy a massage session!
After doing a short health screen, I then had a look at them. I asked them to stand up in their bare feet. I looked at how they were standing. The first thing that struck me was nothing to do with the knees but with their feet. Their feet were pronated and it was quite noticeable! (By pronated, I mean their feet were rolling inwards so there was more weight on their big toes. The inner arch of their feet was closer to the floor than one would have liked.)
I asked if anyone had ever made a comment about their feet. They said "no".
I then asked them to look at their feet. Could they see that their feet were tending to roll inwards? Did they feel their bodyweight was more on the inside (big toe side) of their feet? Could they shift the weight more to the outside of the foot? What happened with the knee? Did it feel better?
Basically the position of the feet was stressing the knee. So the whole time they were focused on their painful knees, the "problem" was the position of their feet!
This was a case of looking at the whole picture because as the saying goes "the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone, the..." Pain is likely to show up at the "weakest link"!
If you are in pain and visit a massage therapist, the first thing they want to do is to make you feel better. The therapist will do an intake assessment and decide whether they can help you.
Assuming they can help, you are then asked to disrobe and lie on a massage table. Using their hands and a massage lotion or oil, the therapist will massage the areas that are tight or otherwise contributing to your pain. You may drift off into a light doze as you start to feel better. When the session is finished, the pain may not be completely gone but "it feels easier".
A different scenario.
You are in pain and visit a therapist who offers Rossiter Workouts. As before, an assessment is made.
Having determined that the workout may help you, you are then asked to lie down on a mat on the floor. You are shown the "lock position" that is needed for a Rossiter stretch. You are instructed in the first stretching move. The therapist then explains that they will be using their foot to apply pressure to your body. You are to tell them when to stop adding pressure - that is "enough for you".
Once the pressue is applied, you are then coached through the stretch. These are not "soft stretches". You are fully engaged in the process!
There is an initial shock "that the stretch (now that pressure has been added) is hard to do. There is a feeling of a good hurt". You have full control throughout the workout. "Too much pressure!" "No, I can't stretch any more." Throughout the workout, the therapist is asking: "How do you feel" "Do you feel any difference, better or worse?" These responses guide the therapist as to what to do next.
At the end of the session, you feel different, the pain is gone. You are engaged in your own healing process!
Which approach to getting rid of pain do you prefer? Want to be in control of your own recovery? Contact a Rossiter Coach.
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!
Recently I offered massage at the end of a long cycle ride event. There were not as many riders taking advantage of the offer. From the faces some of them were making at the end, they were obvious suffering with cramp and sore, tight muscles.
However, one of my clients mentioned that at a previous event, there were screams coming out of the massage tent as the therapists were working on the ITB. (Work on this tissue does tend to be uncomfortable but it is possible release some of the tension without the client screaming!) Did this put riders off?
People talk about sports massage as if it were a uniform type of massage. It is not. There are actually 4 different applications of sports massage.
Pre-event massage aims to quickly release any inappropriate muscle tightness and to help stimulate circulation in the working muscles.
Maintenance massage generally focuses on the muscles that are used in a particular sport. Any restrictions in muscle movement are released, and general flexibility is maintained. This approach to soft tissue health helps to prevent injury.
Post-event massage aims to flush out the fluids in the working muscles which helps to prevent delayed muscle soreness. It also helps to promote relaxation in the muscles so they can recover.
Finally there is rehabilitation massage which helps to promote recvoery following an injury. This approach aims to limit swelling, prevent the formation of adhesions, and support recovery of the injured tissue.
All of these approaches are part of sports massage. The types of massage strokes/techniques that are used will vary depending on the particular situation. Some of the techniques may be more uncomfortable than others but not to the point that the client is screaming. If it is that painful, it is not beneficial to the client or to their body. Pain after all is a signal to the body that something is not right!
Sports massage when performed with due regard to client's needs should be a part of every sports person's fitness plan. You just need to find someone who you can work with!
Are you one of those people who thinks that massage is really only a pampering indulgence? Well, I hope that I can help to educate you in the health benefits of massage.
Massage helps to maintain healthy tissue! Rubbish you say? Well have you thought about the structure of the body?
Human bodies are made up of many different types of tissue ranging from bone to muscle to blood vessels. The body's life line is the blood vessels as every cell needs to receive nutrients and to have waste products removed. Blood vessels connect to every tissue in the body.
Your blood vessers are bascially hollow tubes in which plasma, red blood cells, and other material are contained and carried throughout the body. As such, these hollow tubes can easily be constricted by your own tight muscles. Think of a garden hose. If you step on the hose, water stops flowing. If you lift your foot up, water flow returns. This is the same effect of tight muscles.
Here is another way of seeing how muscle tension can affect blood flow. Take a sponge. The holes in the sponge represent the many blood vessels in a part of your body. Put the sponge in a big bowl of water and let the sponge fill-up with water. This is what normal tissue is like. Now squeeze all the water out of the sponge. Notice how much water comes out. Keep squeezing the sponge. Put the sponge back into the water. Hold for a minute and then remove from the bowl of water. See if you can squeeze the sponge. Does any water come out? No? Well, this is what is happening in your body when muscles are tense and tight: the tissues are no longer receiving adequate nutrition and the removal of waste products. Not a healthy situation!
So what does massage do? Massage helps to release muscular tension. Once tension is released, normal blood flow is restored. (Some strokes help circulation by stimulating blood flow.)
Are you a tense person? For your health, you need a massage!
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!
I just love the human body and am constantly amazed at what we do to it and how little we actually know about it!
Take the current mantra of getting fit.
We are admonished to get fit - go to the gym, do some running, take up a sport. Of course, before you take up a new activity, you are advised to have a check-up before you start - getting your blood pressure checked, etc. Yes, it is good advice but I feel that something is missing. I don't think the check-up actually checks on your body - its muscles and posture. Why does this matter?
For a start, if the body is not in balance, then you may be working hard for no reward.
For example, if you already have slightly rounded shoulders, being told to engage your muscles to pull your shoulders back will not change the position of your shoulders.
Why? A simplistic answer is that muscles work in pairs. To actually move a joint, one muscle contracts while the opposite muscle relaxes. This coordination occurs because the contracting muscle "turns off" the opposite muscle. A constantly tight muscle is continually "turning off" the opposite muscle which makes it seem a weak muscle. Until the tight muscle is released and its "turn off" signal stopped, the weak muscle can't respond very well to strength work.
Back to your rounded shoulders. Yes, your shoulders aren't in an ideal position but the problem is actually that muscles in the front of the shoulders are too tight (such as pectoralis major and minor). Until you release the tension in these muscles, you are unlikely to see any change in your shoulder position.
You can work on building up weak muscles but quicker results maybe obtained by stretching and releasing the tight muscles so that the weak muscles then have something to do! You may be surprised at how quickly you see results!
I would suggest that a massage session should be part of your check-up. Developing body awareness is part of getting fit!