Never Stop Learning

I’ve been fortunate to work several Burn Scar Survivors over the years. In an effort to better serve the Burn Survivor Community, I have completed additional training with Handle With Care Massage.

I’m proud to be among such a talented group of therapist from all over the country who are providing care to this community and can’t wait to become more involved.

 

Science Informed Massage

I’m not a Neuroscientist, but I play one on TV.

If you are currently seeing me for pain or injury or considering doing so, please take some time to watch this. 20 minutes of your time is a small investment to beginning a new way of thinking about pain. Living in the seat of the opioid epidemic has given me a unique personal and professional perspective on manual therapy. My whole way of thinking about what I do has changed. Good science does that. It changes us. I’m no longer fixing ‘issues in the tissues’. My goal is provide resources and coaching that allows clients to understand what pain actually means and just how much control they can gain when they understand their nervous system. Key points in this talk from Lorimer Mosely

Pain is real!

Our brain so adept at producing pain messages, it can produce sensations even when there is an actual threat to tissues.

Pain relies on context and cues!

Pain is all about protection!

Lorimer uses and example of violin players. I’ll insert my own story here. If you’ve read my story, you understand that I had a fairly significant neck injury in my late teens.  For 20(ish) years I’ve have protected my neck. Any tiny bump to the head and I was in excruciating pain. Whether there was any damage or not. Unlearning this has completely changed the way I respond to bumping my head on a cupboard door. What used to result in a few weeks of ibuprofen, ice, massage, etc. I’ve learned to recognize that pain is coming from the nervous system and it’s desire to protect me.

Pain and tissue state are poorly related!

This so important! The statistics on back pain and the numbers as we age are demonstrative of how normal changes in the body are. If I had a dime for every conversation I’ve had with someone who has chronic back pain, has had surgery (sometimes multiple surgeries) and five years later is no less pain…

We are amazingly adaptable, bioplastic learners!

Movement is KING!

“Motion is lotion.”

Understanding pain and retraining your system works!

This is the hardest part. It requires us to the work. As a patient the desire is to go to someone who has more knowledge than we do about our condition and have them ‘fix’ us. With persistent pain the fix often requires us to do a considerable amount of relearning and retraining our brain.

Check out some of these recommendations and resources. As always, I am happy to be part of the journey.

 

Pain Exposure Therapy and Massage

Just a quick check and a share. Eric Dalton is widely respected in massage culture. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from him in the past and find his teaching style and anatomy knowledge impressive.

This is a semi-recent article that he shared in a professional journal about his own philosophy and how pain and the therapeutic relationship coexist.

I can’t say that I agree with everything that he says in this article. Gate Control Theory of pain has been arguably on it’s way out of pain research for a long time. It is worth a read and his perspective is valuable in that it may be the prelude to thinking about pain differently for massage therapists, physical therapists and bodyworkers. Food for thought at the very least.pexels-photo-576831.jpeg

Self Massage Techniques

How do you keep yourself in tip-top shape between appointments at Oakwood Massage?

Self care is not just bubble baths and chocolate. (Although I will rarely turn down either of those!) Have a look at this quick video for techniques for neck pain relief. Tiger Balm is not necessary to make this effective, by the way. It is easy to find and one of my favorites. Make sure you read labels to confirm that any topical you use is not harmful to you!

By Popular Demand-Timeless Massage

The Reboot for your Mind and Body

Do you feel stretched in a hundred different directions? Does a Timeless Massage sound like just what you need? This  long session is not for everyone, but it’s perfect for some!

Obligations, deadlines, appointments, meetings, work, housework, sports, everything. More often than not, it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week for all that needs to be done. We’re on constant high alert. We’re always moving.

All this chaos can be hard on your body and mind.
When this happens, we tend to be less mindful of our eating. Or chasing sleep like it’s a lively kitten. Or we get grumpy with loved ones and coworkers.

The effects of this day to day stress are cumulative for most of us. Stiff joints get stiffer. Cranky shoulders get crankier, then one rogue golf swing or one heavy laundry basket makes it worse.

Massage is the mini-vacation you probably need. A Timeless Massage is the ultimate in ‘factory reset’.
Without the sand in your shoes and having to pull your computer out of your backpack.

Massage therapy is a reboot. It’s the control-alt-delete for your body and mind.
A massage resets your thoughts, slows your pulse, regulates your breathing, and recharges your mind.

Spend some time on my massage table, taking care of you. You can schedule online right here,  or call or text me at 937-668-9454 to make your appointment.

 

The Elephant in the Massage Room

Folks, I’m so sad this morning (and kind of angry).  I often get on my soap box about safe touch, bodily autonomy and respect, I know.

Sexual assault in my industry has become a big topic in the news lately to say nothing of the human trafficking linked with seedy ‘massage parlors’. I’m heartbroken that a profession that attracts people who are genuinely interested in helping people get out of pain, gain a greater sense of how their body performs, and learn about safe touch is going through some growing pains after a few thousand years.

I love what I do and I’ve worked to cultivate an environment where folks feels completely safe and in control of their body. I address the power differential in the massage room with every new client. My goal is that everyone understands that they are the navigator, I’m the driver. My ego has not and will not ever be wounded by a client expressing a hesitation, pain, or fear before, during, or after a session.

I’m relieved that clients feel empowered to speak up when a health care provider has violated a trust. I’m also really disappointed in how my industry has responded. Pretending like a problem doesn’t exist doesn’t make it any less real or damaging to its victims. Pretending that a problem doesn’t exist makes it easier for predators to continue to hurt people. We owe the clients who entrust their body, pain and experiences to our hands more than this.

As A Client, here is what you should know:

Massage should be safe! If someone is causing you pain-tell them. If they don’t adjust to your request, end the session immediately!

Massage should be safe! If someone is making you feel exposed tell them. Your modesty should be respected at all times.

Massage should be safe! When looking for a therapist ask friends and family for recommendations. An experienced, knowledgeable therapist is easy to find this way. Build a relationship with a therapist and insist that they understand your goals and limitations.

There should never be a question about your safety when you are consulting with a new health care provider, but this latest news demonstrates that it is. 

My wish for each and every client seeking massage: May you build a relationship with an experienced therapist that is a true partnership with your goals in mind. May you feel confident that your boundaries are always respected, that you are always heard, and that you always feel safe.

13 Things You Didn’t Know About Massage

 

Only 32% of adult Americans got a massage in the past 5 years. And only even fewer get massage regularly. So it’s not surprising that most people don’t know much about massage.

Here are some fun facts to build your knowledge:

Massage can help you sleep better. (Even if you don’t nap during the actual massage.)

When your back hurts, that might not be the only area that needs massage. Sometimes back pain comes from the hip, legs or even the abdomen.Likewise, sometimes hand and arm pain is caused by dysfunction in the neck and shoulder.

You can stop a massage session at any time. You never cede control of your body. At any time during a massage you can say “no”, “stop”, or even “can you just work on my neck for the rest of the time and skip everything else?” If you are uncomfortable or feel like the therapist isn’t hearing your feedback, or if you just feel like the table is too hard and you have to pee and gosh, this is awful. You can end it.

Massage can help your mood. It’s been shown to be helpful in treating both anxiety and depression.

Even small therapists can provide deeeeep pressure. It’s not about size, it’s about the techniques we use!

Massage doesn’t ‘detoxify’ your body. That whole thing is a silly myth!! It was taught in many schools and you may have heard me say it, back before I knew better. But we know now that it’s just not true.

Massage is safe in the first trimester of pregnancy (unless there are unusual health issues).  Some practitioners choose to not do it, but that’s a liability choice.

Deep tissue massage, or any massage, doesn’t need to be painful to be effective. For reals. Run screaming from any practitioner who insists there needs to be pain in a treatment.

Scars are living tissue that can be transformed with massage and other manual therapies, no matter how old they are. And they can be affecting you in places farther away from the visible scar than you’d ever suspect.

It’s OK to focus on certain areas of discomfort and not always get a full body session. If you only want your arms massaged, that’s fine, too.

Your massage therapist loves feedback. We like to know if you hate having your feet touched, and if you looove having your ears massaged. We like knowing your musical preference and if you prefer to start face down or face up.

We’re also cool if you just want to chill and let us use our judgement to design the treatment.

Do you have questions about massage? Contact me  or ask at your next appointment and I would LOVE to answer them!

Meditation and Massage

Improve your health with breath

Breath. Such a simple thing. It’s essential to life, but yet how often do we think about it? It ebbs and flows throughout our days and we barely give it a second thought.  We’re going to look at some ways our breath improves our health – including some techniques you can utilize today.

Deep breathing can reduce anxiety
Implementing a deep breathing technique when anxiety strikes can make the difference between a full on attack and an unwelcome blip in your day. Deep breathing lowers your heart rate, improves circulation and promotes clearer thinking.

You can use your breath to calm down
Let’s face it, when tempers flair it seems almost impossible to think about anything other than the current situation that set you off. Practicing simple breathing techniques can encourage calmness and help reverse the physical symptoms of anger.

    TECHNIQUE for Anxiety and Calm
Isolate yourself from everyone for 15 minutes
Inhale slowly for the count of 4
Exhale slowly for the count of 8
Notice the space in between the inhalation and exhalation
Repeat until you begin to calm down

Take breathing even deeper with pranayama
Pranayama is the practice of using the breath to soothe an active mind. If practiced right, pranayama can bring harmony between mind, body and spirit. It boosts your ability to be mentally and spiritually strong. There are very specific breathwork techniques that are outside the scope of this article, but we recommend reading up and finding a good teacher.

Use with meditation
Breathwork can be a fantastic addition to your mindfulness or meditation practice. It can allow us to open our hearts and our minds. It has been said that it can move stuck energy as well.

    TECHNIQUE for Pranayama and Meditation
Quiet your body and mind
Observe your breath as it is
Slow your breathing to a calm steady level
Concentrate on the air that moves in and out of your lungs
Focus on how your body feels and moves as you inhale and exhale

Much like massage there is no doubt that breathing can encourage relaxation and healthy habits. It keeps the body/mind functioning and curbs stress. Your muscles naturally relax and you can go about your day a little easier.

Breathing may seem insignificant. It happens naturally, so we may not think about breathing all that much, but maybe it’s time we should.

 

Chronic Pain and Why Education Matters

Advances in Pain Research

As a massage therapist, I am often asked why I follow research so closely. It’s all just sandals and candles, right?  The more I’m able to learn about the mechanism of pain and how the nervous system contributes, the more effective I am. Results matter!

This Q&A with Scott Fishman, MD is a quick read. Chronic pain demands a proactive approach. Therapeutic massage is only a part of the puzzle. Dr. Fishman highlights what’s working and what’s next in the field of pain relief.