What is commonly called a muscle knot is really irritation and tangling of the fascia (connective tissue) that surrounds and permeates a muscle. When stressed and dehydrated fascia becomes gel-like and sticks together. This creates adhesions or “knots”.
These muscle adhesions can occur almost anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found in the back, shoulders and neck. Causes vary, but they are usually a result of poor posture, heavy lifting, dehydration, over use, and the holding of emotional tension in these areas.
Massage can help release muscle adhesions by coaxing the fascia back to its more natural liquid like state. Effective techniques stimulate heat, increase blood flow, and apply strategic pressure to key areas. Regular massage, as well as improved body awareness and mechanics can help you avoid developing these often painful “knots” in the first place.
Several studies have shown that massage during pregnancy can provide many benefits to both the mother and baby. One study at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed the following benefits of prenatal massage;
– Lowered anxiety and depression by triggering the brain to decrease production of stress hormones and increase production of natural “feel good” chemicals.
– Decreased leg and back pain.
– Improved sleep.
Prenatal massage is usually performed with the woman lying on her side to avoid pressure on the abdomen. Pillows, bolsters, and cushions are used to ensure comfort.
With all the fun in Steamboat to participate in, skiing, trail running, horse-back riding you may be having some trouble with your hamstrings. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located at the posterior or rear thigh. These muscles play a crucial role in a number of Steamboat activities.
Hamstring injuries can occur when these muscles become tight and then are abruptly stretched beyond their comfortable limit. In some instances the muscles can actually tear and an audible “pop” can be heard.
Massage can be useful in both preventing hamstring injury and aiding in healing already strained hamstrings.
For injury prevention, regular massage helps keep the hamstring muscles healthy by stretching the muscles and releasing tight spots that could lead to future injury.
Once a hamstring has been strained, massage can help loosen scar tissue and tight muscles, stimulate blood flow, and aid in gently stretching the injured muscles.
Though massage can be an invaluable tool in healing, it should not be performed during the most acute stage of the injury when rest is the best approach. Your medical provider, in partnership with your licensed massage therapist can discuss with you an ideal treatment plan to get you back to and keep you at peak performance so you don’t miss a single powder day!
Regular professional massage can help prevent sports and overuse injuries. Rotator cuff strain is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain and reduced range of motion in the shoulder joint.
Causes of rotator cuff injury can vary, but is often a result of chronic overuse of the shoulder such as seen with tennis players, baseball players, carpenters, construction workers, and any activity which requires frequent overhead arm movement.
These injuries can be extremely debilitating. In severe cases one may become unable to lift their arm higher than their shoulder to the front and to the side. By the time this occurs surgical intervention may be a last solution.
One of the many benefits of massage therapy is that it can help prevent rotator cuff strain in the first place. It does this by helping to keep the shoulder muscles flexible, improves the range of motion, lengthens adaptively shortened muscles, and increases blood flow to the muscles, tendons, and joints of the affected area.
If you feel you may be at risk of developing rotator cuff problems, regular sessions with a professional massage therapist can be a key part of your preventative health care and an injury free lifestyle!
We all know that massage is great for stress relief and relaxation, but it has many other benefits as well. Did you know that massage can enhance sports performance and assist in a quick recovery? Sports massage focuses on the specific muscles groups used for each athletes sport.
Pre-sports massage can prepare an athlete for high intensity activity by helping to stretch the muscles groups and increase blood flow, as well as helping to improve joint range of motion. Psychological benefits include helping an athlete to have increased focus and confidence that their muscles are ready to perform at the highest level possible.
Research suggests that massage offers important post-exercise benefits as well. For instance, researchers at Ohio State University have shown in animal studies that post-exercise massage results in less swelling and fewer signs of inflammation when compared to animals that had not received massage after exercise.
Don’t forget to let massage therapy be an important part of your strategy for peak sports performance!
Benefits of Massage
“Massage is to the human body what a tune-up is to a car”
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion
- Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow – the body’s natural defense system.
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight or atrophied muscles.
- Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts
- Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ – the skin
- Increase joint flexibility
- Lessen depression and anxiety
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation
- Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling
- Reduce spasms and cramping
- Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles
- Relieve migraine pain
- and MANY more!
Fun Facts About Massage
- One hour massage equates to 7-8 hours of sleep on the body
- There are approximately 5 million touch receptors in our skin – 3,000 in a finger tip
- Muscles are made up of bundles from about 5 in the eyelid to about 200 in the buttock muscles
- Touch is the first sense to develop in humans, and may be the last to fade
- Massage therapy is the third most commonly used form of alternative medicine in the US
- Experts estimate that stress is responsible for 80-90% of disease
- Office workers massaged regularly are more alert, perform better and are less stressed than those who aren’t massaged
This week I thought a fun exercise would be the “Gratitude Visit”, an exercise developed by Dr. Marty Seligman a leader in the field of Positive Psychology. This field studies on helping “normal” people lead fuller more happy lives. So get your happy on this week and follow these three basic steps to lift your spirit and increase your joy.
!) Think of someone who has done something important and wonderful for you, yet who you have not properly thanked.
2) Reflect on the benefits you received from this person, and write a letter expressing your gratitude for all they have done for you.
3) Arrange a time to deliver the letter in person, and spend some time talking with the person about what you have wrote.
Do you feel those endorphins pumping already???
This week I thought we could talk a little about encouraging ourselves through rewards. As children our parents often encouraged us through rewards, though once we reached adulthood this powerful motivator often halts. This can still be a powerful tool when used appropriately. The best rewards are one’s that are not harmful to your health, are readily available, and don’t cost too much. One idea is to create a list and keep it in a prominent place where you will remember to encourage and take care of yourself. Here is a sample list to get you started;
1) Take a bath.
2) Call a friend who lives far away.
3) Read a book.
4) Try a new restaurant.
5) And of course… Get a massage.
Remember, life should be fun, take care of yourself and reward yourself for all your hard efforts!
Have you ever had a mental “freak-out”? Our minds can often spin out of control resulting in anxiety and depression. Instead of turning to unhealthy vices to try to relieve your stress, try this simple method; Take a shower, showering relaxed your body and changes your focus. While taking your shower ask yourself, “What are three steps I can take to proactively change my situation?”. Chances are you will feel much more equip to tackle life’s challenges with a little fresh perspective. If this doesn’t work, call us for a massage:)
Come in and see what we have for the Holiday’s!
Staying Warm: Heat pads, microwavable neck pillows, kids hand warmers, gloves, mittens, and sweaters.
Hot Drinks: Tea Blends with tea kettles and infusers.
Bath: Lotions, massage oils, toners, skin serums, and natural soaps and bath salts.
Essential Oils: Essential oils that could be used to make lotions, foot soaks, candles, soaps, shampoos, and more.
Apparel and Accessories: Cardigans, sweaters, dresses, printed pants, scarves, comfortable pants, earrings, necklaces, and headbands. Come pick out an outfit for yourself or someone you love.
Yoga: Yoga mats, mat bags, yoga pants, tank tops, and light sweatshirts.