Archive for October, 2014

Infant Massage

Posted on October 31st, 2014 by Shari´ Parks

Gentle massage can work wonders for your baby. Touch is one of the most developed senses at birth. The ways massage can help your baby are endless. Here are just a few:

*Improve the baby/parent bond
*Boost muscle development
*Calming when baby is fussy

There are several resources out there to help you learn massage techniques for your little one. One of them is:

– http://www.infantmassageusa.org/learn-to-massage-your-baby/

Pregnancy and Weight Training

Posted on October 24th, 2014 by Shari´ Parks

As you probably know, I moonlight as a Les Mills Body Pump fitness instructor. I absolutely love the Les Mills approach to high reps/low weight to tone and shape the muscles. There’s so much conflicting information out there in regards to pregnancy and excercise. Les Mill’s recent newsletter discusses reasons why expecting mom’s should continue to move their bodies. Here’s a few of the key reasons:

– Maintaining a good level of fitness will set you up for an easier, shorter labor with better recovery and fewer chances of complications.

– Training your abs during pregnancy will also lessen the degree of abdominal wall separation – a condition which can cause lower back and pelvic pain.

– Exercise helps normalize the birth weight of your baby. This is important as heavy babies are more likely to develop illnesses such as obesity, metabolic disease and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Naturally, it’s important to discuss your desire to continue to work out with your physician.

For more information and demonstrations see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCKcsm6CPQg

References:
Bryce Hastings, Sept 28 2014 Les Mills International

PTSD and Massage Therapy

Posted on October 17th, 2014 by Shari´ Parks

PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder is often connected to war related trauma. Often includes physical and/or psychological harm to the individual or a loved one. While doing research for this blog, I felt a bit overwhelmed with all the information. Since Oct 2001, approx. 1.64 million U.S. troops have been deployed. A staggering 18.5 percent return home with either PTSD or depression.

A program in Texas created by clinical psychologist John Fortunato combines group and individual therapist that include massage therapy, reiki, meditation, yoga, and other holistic approaches. The 6-9 month program is a rigorous 35 hour treatment week. According to Fortunato, “In order to stay alive, their bodies have been hyperaroused for so long, that they come back home and cannot turn it off. The body doesn’t even remember how to relax. Massage therapy helps soldiers sleep.”

From a 2005 study, positive changes have been seen following massage therapy. By decreasing the clients cortisol levels with bodywork, a reduction of hyperarousal and danger occurs. Increasing serotonin and dopamine in the brain, an ease of anxiety is felt.

In the hands of well-intentional therapist, PTSD sufferers can restore the most basic human needs of safety, trust, control and self-worth.

References:
* Melinda Elliott. “Back from Hell”; MassageTherapy.com
* Tanielian T, Jaycox LH. “Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery.”
* Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. Cortisol Decreases and Serotonin and Dopamine Increase Following Massage Therapy.

TMJ and massage therapy

Posted on October 10th, 2014 by Shari´ Parks

Do you grind your teeth? Perhaps in your sleep at night? Waking up to tight jaw muscles? You could have temporomandibular joint dysfunction. More commonly known as TMJ. It’s reported 65% to 85% of Americans experience TMJ symptoms in their lifetime. In my opinion, that’s a high percentage.

Causes:

* Whiplash
* Anxiety
* Trigger Points
* Postural dysfunction i.e. bad posture

Symptoms:

* Clicking noises when the jaw moves
* Pain and muscle spasms in the head, jaw, neck and shoulder muscles
* Earaches
* Limited movement to the jaw

How Massage Therapy can help:

Massage Therapy Foundation, www.massagetherapyfoundation.org, has collected data that demonstrates how massage therapy has tremendously improved the condition of many with TMJ. Manual manipulation of the muscles in the face, jaw and neck a can reduce the pain. Techniques such as craniosacral and myofascial release are two modalities that are known to assist those with TMJ. Self care is also a crucial part of treatment.

For more information visit www.tmj.org

Pinched nerve and Massage Therapy

Posted on October 3rd, 2014 by Shari´ Parks

Are tingling, numbness, or sharp pain’s happening in your body? It could be the symptoms of a pinched nerve. First, it’s important to understand the diagnosis. A pinched nerve is when a nerve is damaged in some way and unable to fully send signals. Massage therapy can assist with relieving muscular pressure on the nerve and reducing the pain. Be aware to not schedule a deep pressure session. Deep tissue work can aggravate the area and prolong it’s recovery. Among massage therapy, here are a few things to keep in mind with a pinched nerve.

A few crucial healing elements are:

* Rest. Avoid overworking the affected area.
* Ice and Heat. Ice helps with inflammation. Heat helps with relaxing the area and increasing blood flow.
* Healthy diet. There are certain foods known to help with treatment. Calcium and potassium are two that should be added into your diet by way of supplements or in your food.
* Exercise. Inactivity can lead to muscle weakness which can slow the rate of healing.

Bottom line, do not ignore a pinched nerve. Seek professional assistance from your Massage Therapist right away.

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