Kinesio tape is a thin, stretchy, latex -free elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive . Therapeutic kinesio is tape that can benefit a wide variety of musculoskeletal injuries and inflammatory conditions.
Kinesio tape is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticity, which allows it to be applied without binding, constricting or restricting your natural movement.
Many of you have heard me recommend the use of a foam roller to help break up the knots and adhesions that I find in session with you. The foam roller is a great self-help tool. So lets talk about the benefits of using a roller.
Self-myofascial release, also known as “foam rolling,” has transformed from a once mysterious technique used only by professional athletes, coaches, and therapists to a familiar everyday practice for people at all levels of fitness. Recent information, technology, and affordable products have introduced an increasing array of training and recovery methods to the average person.
I found this to be a very good topic considering the majority of clients I see are either suffering from a pain in the neck or in the butt! (and are not referring to their significant others necessarily)
Sciatica and piriformis syndrome can seem quite similar, parularly in terms of symptoms, and this similarity in how they feel has caused considerable confusion for doctors and patients alike. Some individuals have stated that they are actually the same thing, but despite similarities in symptoms, the underlying causes of the two conditions are different.
Sciatica refers to irritation of the sciatic (often mis-spelled as syatic or psyatic) nerve, that arises from nerve roots in the lumbar spine. The most common cause of sciatic nerve irritation, or “true” sciatica is compression of one or more of its component nerve roots due to disc herniation or spinal degeneration in the lower lumbar region. Sciatica usually begins in the buttock area and, depending on the severity of the underlying nerve comression and inflammation, may extend down the entire leg to the ankle and foot.
Piriformis syndrome is sometimes called false sciatica, because instead of actual nerve irritation, it is caused by referral pain . The syndrome is caused by tight knots of contraction in the piriformis muscle, which attaches to the upper femur bone and then runs across the back of the pelvis to the outside edge of the sacrum, the triangular pelvic bone at the base of the spine. The symptoms of piriformis syndrome are very similar and may be indistinguishable from true sciatica.
In some cases, piriformis syndrome may cause true sciatic nerve irritation, as the sciatic nerve may run underneath or even through the middle of the piriformis, so contraction of the piriformis may produce sufficient compression of the sciatic nerve to produce actual nerve symptoms. This is one of the main sources of confusion when it comes to distinguishing true sciatica from piriformis syndrome.
As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of true sciatica are very similar to piriformis syndrome. Both cause pain, tingling, burning, “electrical shock” sensations, and/or numbness down the leg, often all the way to the foot. In addition, both sciatica and piriformis syndrome tend to be at least partially related to biomechanical functional problems in the joints of the back and pelvis and they may even be present simultaneously in the same person, so it an be difficult to tell them apart.
But since the most effective treatment for the two conditions varies signficantly, it is important to determine the correct diagnosis if at all possible. In most cases there is an easy way to distinguish between sciatica and piriformis syndrome.
In most cases, sciatica can be differentiated from piriformis syndrome with a couple of simple test maneuvers. To begin, from a seated position, one straightens the knee on the side of sciatic pain, holding the leg out straight and parallel to the floor, and if this position causes an increase in symptoms, it is a good indicator of true sciatica.
The second maneuver is performed in two parts. First, from the sitting position one bends the leg and pulls the knee on the painful side towards the same-side shoulder. In all but the most severe cases, there is usually no major increase in pain in this position. The second part of the maneuver is to pull the knee toward the opposite side shoulder. An increase in the sciatica-like symptoms is a strong indication of piriformis syndrome.
It is important to distinguish between sciatica and piriformis syndrome, because the treatment for the conditions varies, and getting the diagnosis right typically leads to more effective treatment.
Thank you Dr. George Best!
Properly stretching the piriformis muscle is very important, click on this link to see how
Recommended oils for Sciatica:
Peppermint, Roman Chamomile, Helichrysum and Thyme.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT STRETCHING CAN HELP RELIEVE PAIN
The Benefits of Stretching
As you age, your muscles tighten and range of motion in the joints diminishes. This can put a damper on active lifestyles and even impair day-to-day, normal movement. Tasks that used to seem simple, such as zipping up a dress or reaching for a can from the top shelf, become extremely difficult. A regular stretching program can help lengthen your muscles and make daily activities easier.
Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. Stretching should be a part of your daily routine, whether you exercise or not. There are simple stretches you can do while watching TV, on the computer, or getting ready for bed. If you are doing strength training exercises, stretch in between sets. It feels good and saves time from stretching at the end of the workout! Stretching need not involve a huge time commitment, but can provide substantial results! Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from a regular stretching regime:
Reduced muscle tension;
Increased range of movement in the joints;
Enhanced muscular coordination;
Increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body;
Increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation and enhanced nutrient delivery).
Stretching is important for people of all ages! One of the greatest benefits of stretching is that you’re able to increase your range of motion, which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs. Post-exercise stretching can also aid in workout recovery, decrease muscle soreness, and ensure that muscles and tendons are in good working order. The more conditioned your muscles and tendons , the better they can handle the rigors of sport and exercise, and the less likely that they’ll become injured.
Stretching comes naturally to all of us. You might notice that if you have been sitting in a particular position for a long time, you stretch unconsciously. It feels good! In addition to that good feeling, a consistent stretching program will produce substantial gains in flexibility and joint movement. Be kind to your muscles and they will be kind to you!
Click on the link below for some really good upper body stretches that you can do anywhere!
HOW MASSAGE THERAPY CAN BENEFIT YOUR POST-SURGERY REHABILITATION
Post-surgical patients benefit from massage therapy in multiple ways such as reducing contractures and relaxing muscles which have become tight and guarding due to the trauma of the surgery. Massage helps prevent the laying down of collagen substructures which cause scar tissue to form around the incision and surrounding tissues.
There is no set time for healing from surgery (or any injury for that matter). It all depends on the nature of the surgery and the location , depth and magnitude of the incision. For something major like heart surgery, recovery would entail a minimum of 6 weeks. For minor surgery, with smaller incisions, the therapist should avoid the direct area and massage around the incision at a level comfortable to the client.
Post-Operative Massage Therapy
Orthopedic Massage (including cupping massage, deep tissue, myofascial release, and cross -fiber friction) is a great way to release adhesions. To massage the incision area (medium incisions- 1 inch to 3 inches) it is advisable to wait approximately 6 weeks post-op. If the scar has fully formed, I will apply light pressure around the site. There should be strong communication between client and therapist. I will stop at any discomfort, and slowly increase the depth of pressure.
There is always increased swelling, reduced flexibility and stiffness following surgery. The incision site and the underlying adhesions to muscle tissue and fascia (due to tension, displacement and cutting/suturing ) create scar tissue. It is vital that that incision site and joints be massaged after seven days of healing. Of course, pressure and intensity of massage needs to be light initially and increased over time, helping to reduce swelling, redness, and pain.
It is VERY IMPORTANT for post-surgical patients to seek massage therapy early in order to avoid months or years of suffering due to untreated contractures, muscle adhesions, guarding muscles and scar tissue and the resulting consequences of reduced range of motion. Orthopedic massage has been scientifically proven to assist in resolving these typical post-surgical issues.
So if you know someone who’s getting ready to undergo surgery, consider holding off on the get-well-soon balloons and start looking for a good massage therapist instead.
Essential oils that may be beneficial for scar tissue: Frankincense and Lavender
Egypt was the birth place of medicine, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals thousands of years ago. A look back through time shows that ancient civilizations well understood the aromatic use of essential oils for health enhancement. As long as 6,000 years ago, Egyptians discovered the therapeutic benefits of massaging with essential oils and were famous for their skin care formulas and cosmetics. Fragrances, herb oils, balsams, and resins were used in embalming techniques and religious ceremonies.
The use of aromatics spread throughout history from Egypt to Israel, Greece, Rome, and the entire Mediterranean world. Every culture developed practices of perfumery using oils, but with the Dark Ages, much of this knowledge was lost. A look at history shows that India is the only place in the world where this tradition was never lost. Ayurvedic (life-knowledge) medicine is the oldest form of medical practice using oils and has been in continuous use since its inception thousands of years ago.
Aromatherapy massage is massage therapy that uses essential oils together with the massage lotion or oil. Massage with aromatherapy works because once the essential oils are inhaled through the nostrils, they influence the brain and the limbic system. In is the limbic system that regulates emotions and affect the hormones and nervous system. When a person inhales the fragrances, there could be positive changes in his stress level, blood pressure, breathing, memory, heart rate, immune system, and digestion. There are three ways for essential oils to penetrate the body. The first one is through the lungs during inhalation, the second is into the brain through the nerve endings in the nose, and third is through the skin with the use of massage and ointments.
There are different properties for each essential oil. For example, rosemary is energizing and cleansing, while eucalyptus, tea tree, and pine have decongesting effects.
The employment of aromatherapy massage is mainly to relieve stress and stress-related conditions such as insomnia or difficulty in sleeping. Headaches, back pains, premenstrual syndrome, and digestive disorders are also relieved through aromatherapy massage. Research studies have reported that mothers who received aromatherapy massage have decreased incidence of post-partum blues and anxiety. The positive effects of aromatherapy massage to them include attachment to the babies and increased energy.
Other effects of aromatherapy massage include: protection and softening of the skin, relief of irritation and pain, reduction of fluid buildup and improved circulation, breakdown of mucus, relief of headaches and backaches, enhancement of body detoxification, relaxation of the digestive system, increased energy and concentration, relief of anxiety and stress, relaxation of the mind, and relief from insomnia and depression. Aromatherapy massage also improves the efficiency of cell metabolism. More people report that they have heightened body awareness after the massage. Some people feel as if there is balance and focus on their general attitudes and feelings. Improved circulation brings about a healthier glow to the skin. Flexibility of the joints and better posture can be achieved through aromatherapy massage. Lastly, the person’s link with nature and spirit is improved after the therapy.
The techniques used in aromatherapy massage are chosen to suit the needs of the client. Thus, client satisfaction is already guaranteed.
The sciatic nerve is a nerve bundle composed of several nerve roots that originate in the lower back and sacral area. This nerve extends down the lower leg into the foot , down the back of the thigh between muscles like the piriformis, which run down from the sacral area to the legs. A tightening of these muscles can cause the sciatic nerve to get compressed and cause pain. The pain can be mild causing slight tingling, but severe sciatic pain can prevent the client from moving or reclining. It is always advisable to get sciatica diagnosed by a physician, as there are more serious factors that can cause similar pain . These can include spinal problems such as misalignment of discs or their degeneration due to age. Muscle spasms or tensions can also cause such pain and need to be treated separately. Application of cold compresses quite often alleviates sciatica pain and may be used for initial treatments or mild attacks. However, long lasting relief can be obtained from massage therapy once the problem is identified as originating from the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve originates from the bottom of your sacrum which is the triangular bone just above the buttocks, the region from where the massage therapist will begin the treatment. The massage treatment should preferably start with an assessment of the entire back and buttock area. The piriformis muscle can be tight or spasming, which in turn compresses the sciatic nerve resulting in pain. Massage treatment would include applying constant pressure to the piriformis muscle and other gluteal muscles to cause them to relax and reduce the spasms. These muscles can become tight by constant pressure due to long hours of driving or spending extended periods of time while seated . They may begin during pregnancy and worsen as the pregnancy progresses. The massage therapist would then include long strokes, which reach deep into muscle fibers. Pressure and technique would vary by individual, and gentle vibration of the buttock and sacrum is also practiced. This may require several sessions to enable the muscle to release its hold on the sciatic nerve and therefore afford longer relief.
Such massage techniques can also be practiced at home as a follow-up to the treatment or when pain is less severe. This requires you use of a tennis ball. Place it in the middle of one buttock while lying down. Let your weight slowly settle on the ball and induce pressure on the piriformis muscle. Remain still while the muscle relaxes and repeat the massage treatment on the other buttock. Rolling the ball across the gluteal muscles while lying down may also help. Be sure the pressure does not apply to any bones. If you do feel sore after this treatment, apply some moist heat to the area with a heated wet towel.
The spending on pain relief medications due to sciatica is estimated to cost Americans billions of dollars each year. A study conducted in 2003 concluded that massage therapy reduced the intake of pain killers by as much as a third compared to other known forms of treatment. This itself can lead to the reduction in the use of painkillers and has already made massage therapy a common way to ease sciatica pain. Massage therapy for sciatica pain may require multiple sessions, but relief can last for two to three months. It is important that the sufferer take care to ensure that the conditions that caused the sciatica pain are avoided.
Essential oils that may be beneficial for sciatica relief:
Peppermint, Roman Chamomile, Helichrysum, Thyme or Deep Blue.
The protocol, which involves applying small cups or jars to the skin and suctioning it away from the body, dates as far back as 1500 B.C., when ancient Egyptians used it to treat fever, vertigo, menstrual imbalance, poor appetite, pain and a variety of other health conditions. Taoist herbalists later used cupping therapy to induce relaxation, expel toxins from the body and promote healthy blood flow, among many other uses.
Today, this simple and highly versatile technique is still beneficial for all sorts of health conditions, which makes it an excellent alternative to drugs and surgery for many people. Whether they are made of glass, bamboo or modern materials like silicone, these unique little cups have a confirmed track record of clinical efficacy that renders them worthy of further investigation.
Generally, cupping is combined with acupuncture in one treatment, but it can also be used alone. The suction and negative pressure provided by cupping can loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, and sedate the nervous system (which makes it an excellent treatment for high blood pressure). Cupping is used to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite. For weight loss and cellulite treatments, oil is first applied to the skin, and then the cups are moved up and down the surrounding area.
Like acupuncture, cupping follows the lines of the meridians. There are five meridian lines on the back, and these are where the cups are usually placed. Using these points, cupping can help to align and relax qi, as well as target more specific maladies. By targeting the meridian channels, cupping strives to ‘open’ these channels – the paths through which life energy flows freely throughout the body, through all tissues and organs, thus providing a smoother and more free-flowing qi (life force). Cupping is one of the best deep-tissue therapies available. It is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. Toxins can be released, blockages can be cleared, and veins and arteries can be refreshed within these four inches of effected materials. Even hands, wrists, legs, and ankles can be ‘cupped,’ thus applying the healing to specific organs that correlate with these points.
This treatment is also valuable for the lungs, and can clear congestion from a common cold or help to control a person’s asthma. In fact, respiratory conditions are one of the most common maladies that cupping is used to relieve. Three thousand years ago, in the earliest Chinese documentation of cupping, it was recommended for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.
Wishing you Peace, Balance and Harmony!
BENEFICIAL ESSENTIAL OILS
Muscles/Connective Tissues: Marjoram, Deep Blue, Peppermint and Aroma Touch
As with any population, massage is a beneficial complementary therapy — diabetics, however, can find the results especially helpful.
The use of massage therapy for diabetes has expanded dramatically in recent years. Various studies have shown that patients who suffer from diabetes benefit from massage therapy in conjunction with their regular medical treatments. In diabetes, the blood sugar (glucose) levels are very high due to the imbalance in the secretion or utilization of the hormone insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas for helping the glucose to enter the cells as well as for regulating the blood sugar level in the body. When massage is performed at injection sites, insulin absorption is enhanced . In addition , massage provides a positive effect on blood glucose levels.
Additional benefits of massage for diabetics include:
Circulation — There is no getting around the fact that massage enhances circulation, thereby encouraging the efficient transport of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Improved circulation, in turn, increases the cells’ insulin uptake.
Relaxation — The benefits of relaxation should not be underestimated, especially within the diabetic community. Consider the physical and psychological stresses of living with a potentially debilitating disease and the need to self-medicate and monitor on a daily basis, as well as the overall physical burden diabetes puts on the body and its systems. That said, it’s easy to see the therapeutic correlation between massage and diabetes. With the release of endorphins, the nervous system calms, there is a reduction of stress hormones and the diabetic client can find a homeostasis with their blood sugar levels.
Myofascial Effects — In clients with diabetes, you frequently find a thickening of connective tissue caused by increased blood sugars. Massage helps to increase mobility and tissue elasticity that has been hindered by that thickening effect. Of course, a good exercise program — with an efficient stretching regimen — will also prove beneficial.
Reflexology is a form of bodywork that focuses primarily on the feet.
There is often confusion between reflexology and massage and what each can provide. The power of touch is important to both, and both involve the use of the hands, although reflexology uses the thumbs and fingers, instead of the entire hand. Massage focuses on the muscular system and working muscles, while reflexology concentrates on the nervous system, working the nerve endings in the feet, ears and hands.
How does it work?
The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are “reflex” areas on the feet and hands that correspond to specific organs, glands, and other parts of the body.
the tips of the toes reflect the head
the heart and chest are around the ball of the foot
the liver, pancreas and kidney are in the arch of the foot
low back and intestines are towards the heel
He believed that certain areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body. This concept was furthered by physiotherapist Eunice Ingham into the modern practice of reflexology.
Practitioners believe that applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways.
Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, introduced this concept of “zone therapy” in 1915. American physiotherapist Eunice Ingram further developed this zone theory in the 1930’s into what is now knows as reflexology.
A scientific explanation is that the pressure may send signals that balance the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphins that reduce pain and stress.
What will I feel?
Most people find reflexology for the most part to be very relaxing.
Reflexology shouldn’t be painful. If you feel discomfort, be sure to tell the reflexologist. He or she should work within your comfort zone.
Some areas may be tender or sore, and the reflexologist may spend extra time on these points. The soreness should decrease with pressure.
If you’re ticklish, not to worry. The reflexologist applies firm pressure to the feet.