Archive for August, 2012

Ouch! That pain runs down my leg!

Posted on August 30th, 2012 by Shari´ Parks

I see many clients that complain of a pain that starts in the buttocks and can radiate as far as the sole of the foot. They will complain the pain starts as early as before they start the day; often awaking them in the middle of the night to limiting a daily activity. In the next breathe the term sciatic nerve is uttered.

The main nerve traveling down the leg is the sciatic nerve. Pain associated with the sciatic nerve usually originates higher along the spinal cord around the sacrum (butt bone) when nerve roots become compressed or damaged from narrowing of the vertebral column or from a slipped disk. The inflammation of the sciatic nerve can have many causes including a slipped disc, pinched and from improper posture. Symptoms can include tingling, numbness, or pain; which impacts to the buttocks, legs and feet.

Now that we know what the sciatic nerve is and where it’s located, what can you do about it?

Massage therapy will relax the muscles that surround the affected sciatic nerve. Tense muscles may press up against or squeeze the nerve, and massage therapy will counteract this reaction. It helps circulation in the lower back, and if you suffer from chronic sciatic discomfort, massage is an effective prevention.

There are also many things you can do at home to support your healing.

Heat and ice:
An ice pack may reduce inflammation that is associated with sciatic nerve pain. Heat helps to increase the blood flow to this area. Alternating both cold and heat can give positive results in reducing pain and inflammation.

Stretching/Yoga can offer good support for the back. Certain stretches and yoga poses for the sciatica can help release the tightness and relax the muscles. (check out various yoga poses at

Support and Posture:
Sitting on hard or uneven surfaces can aggravate the sciatic nerve therefore, making sure there is good support and posture can help. If you sit at a desk, having a chair that tilts a bit and shifts your weight can reduce stress on the lower back creating less pressure and pain. A firm yet cushioning mattress can help. Sleeping with side bent knees can also help align posture while you are sleeping.

Firefighters and Teachers are STRESSED

Posted on August 24th, 2012 by Shari´ Parks

What a rewarding week!

I’ve had the pleasure of providing massage therapy to, in my opinion, two of the hardest working professions! Teachers and Firefighters.

I found many similarities in these professions. Both are physically demanding and mentally stressful; leaving the body and mind depleted at the end of the day.

Another commonality is that stress is held in these four locations:

* top of shoulders (upper trapezius)
* between the shoulder blades
* neck
* mid to lower back

Frequent massage, monthly or sooner, can:

* reduce muscular tension and stress
* bring a sense of mental well being and relaxation

I found when massaging this population deep tissue was the preferred pressure. Stretches to the limbs were also necessary to lengthen shortened muscles.

Thank you firefighters and public school teachers for all that you do!

7 ways to boost your immune system

Posted on August 22nd, 2012 by Shari´ Parks

I was reading one of my favorite free newspapers, The Beacon, and was surprised to see a clinic already advertising annual flu and pneumonia shots. Quickly, I remembered Fall is right around the corner.

As Fall fast approaches, here are some helpful tips on ways to keep your immune system strong not only in the colder months, but year around.

Seven ways to boost your immune system

Contrast Hydrotherapy treatments can increase blood circulation

Posted on August 20th, 2012 by Shari´ Parks

Contrast Hydrotherapy treatments can increase blood circulation, improve general circulation and metabolism. The rapid open/close of the blood vessels encourages blood to circulate through local tissues. This pumping action aids in the acceleration of the tissue healing process by increasing cellular nutrition and water, increasing the removal of toxic products.

Some other reasons to incorporate this treatment into your regimen are:

* Acceleration in tissue healing
* Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
* Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow
* Chronic inflammation

Treatment regimen:
4 to 8 repetitions of alternating hot/cold application
Begin with heat and follow up with cold

Heat for 3 minute duration
Cold for 30 second duration

Don’t have an ice/hot pack? Some effect common home products that can be used are a microwave or stove to heat the towel and a bag of frozen vegetables for the cold component.

Touching story: Blind Massage Therapist

Posted on August 15th, 2012 by Shari´ Parks

This story is very moving. Read on and enjoy.

Touching story: Massage therapist doesn’t let blindness hold him back

Quick relief for painful Plantar Fasciitis

Posted on August 10th, 2012 by Shari´ Parks

It’s reported that more than 10% of the US population will suffer from plantar fasciitis in a lifetime. I can attest to that statistic. While training for a 2011 half marathon I developed the condition. Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia, connective tissue, on the soles of the feet.

After seeing a podiatrist, I was advised to do all the things I knew I should. One was to change my running shoes. Another was to not walk around my house bare foot; which only exacerbates the inflammation. One home treatment that I wasn’t aware of was the tennis ball trick.

What you do is role the tennis ball on the sole of your foot from the heel to the base of the toes. This along with ice therapy really helped me. Oh, and I’m completely fine now. No more pain since this home care approach. Try it out!

Bodywork for Weekend Warriors

Posted on August 2nd, 2012 by Shari´ Parks

As many of us are glued to the television, smartphones and tablets watching the Summer Olympics, in this month’s newsletter we learn how massage therapy can assist weekend warriors prepare for the next big race. As a weekend warrior myself I find that regular bodywork gets me prepared for whatever my next race may be.

Before I changed professions into the wellness industry I knew how crucial getting a massage prior to and after my races were for me. I would receive monthly ‘maintenance’ sessions to assure my body was ready just in case I decided to hop on a last minute registration for a run race. These sessions would enhance recovery from strenuous exertion and maintain my optimal health. When I began training heavily for marathons or triathlons, I bumped up my frequency of sessions to bi-monthly sometimes three times a month. These sessions would assist my physical and mental recovery, decrease injury potential and support soft tissue healing.

Weekend Warriors

Some dynamic ways of seeing how massage therapy goes hand in hand with the weekend warrior are:

* Improved blood circulation= better cellular nutrition = faster recovery
* More elastic connective tissues = greater range of motion = more power
* Less anxiety = greater mental focus = better concentration


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